The resignation of Rensselaer’s director of athletics Jim Knowlton, effective March 1, was announced on Tuesday, January 6. Dr. Lee A. McElroy, Jr., former vice president and director of athletics at the University of Albany, has been appointed interim director of athletics.
Knowlton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1982 from the United States Military Academy, where he was captain of the varsity hockey team. After 10 years with the United States Army, Knowlton went back to college and received a master’s degree in civil engineering from Cornell University.
Knowlton started his career in athletic administration at his alma mater, the United States Military Academy. At the USMA he served as both the director of the Center for Enhanced Performance and interim director of athletics. He also served as a chairman on the NCAA Hockey Rules Committee.
Since becoming director of athletics at RPI in 2008, Knowlton has overseen major projects including renovations of the Houston Field House and construction of the East Campus Athletic Village. He also served on the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics’ Executive Committee, the Board of College Hockey, and as a chairman on the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee. RPI Athletics has experienced great success under Knowlton’s direction culminating in the 2012–2013 academic year, during which most of RPI’s teams had winning records and all 23 teams surpassed the 3.0 GPA mark. During Knowlton’s tenure at Rensselaer, RPI’s varsity athletics teams saw improved season records, eight NCAA tournament appearances, and an increase in the number of RPI student athletes receiving league, conference, and national awards. Knowlton will continue his career in athletic administration as director of athletics for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, C.O.
Knowlton’s successor, McElroy, brings a lengthy resume of his own and has over 30 years of athletic administration experience to bring to Rensselaer. As an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, McElroy was a three-year letterman on the football team. McElroy continued his education, receiving a master’s degree and doctorate in education from the University of Southern California and the University of Houston, respectively. In the past three decades, McElroy has held the position of athletic director at several universities, including California State University and, most recently, the University of Albany. During his 14 years at the University of Albany, McElroy was elected president of the National Association of College Athletic Directors and president of the American East Board of Directors, and served on both the NCAA Management Council and Board of Trustees for the United States Sports Academy.
As McElroy was only appointed interim director of athletics, the national search for a new director of athletics continues. Look out for future announcements regarding the appointment of a new director of athletics.