|Position:||Director of Athletics|
The University at Albany named Mark Benson as director of athletics on August 20, 2014. Benson became the University’s second AD since the program entered Division I sports in 1999. As director, Benson provides leadership for UAlbany’s NCAA Division I, 18-sport intercollegiate athletics program and its scholar student athletes.
In his first year, the UAlbany men’s and women’s athletics teams were recognized in the final Capital One Cup standings, which honors the nation’s best Division I athletic programs. The Great Dane women’s programs finished 49th, while the men placed 50th out of 106 ranked schools and 347 total NCAA Division I athletic programs.
UAlbany competed in a school-record six NCAA Tournaments, while winning nine conference championships, and was one of three universities in the country to have its men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and women’ golf teams make NCAA Division I Tournament appearances -- the others were Duke and North Carolina. With field hockey’s run to the Final Four and men’s lacrosse’s quarterfinal appearance, the Great Danes boasted two top-10 national finishes under Benson’s surveillance.
The success didn’t stop in year two as the Great Danes captured the America East Commissioner’s Cup for the fourth straight year and fifth time in school history. UAlbany won eighth conference championships in 2015-16 and made five NCAA Tournament appearances.
In addition, in the naming of Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, Benson helped garner a $10 million gift to support the football stadium and other facilities, expand scholarships for student-athletes, and address additional priorities in athletics. The gift was made by The Bernard and Millie Children’s Foundation on Oct. 9, 2015.
Prior to UAlbany, Benson was the senior associate athletic director at Old Dominion University. He also served as the assistant vice president for Athletic Development for eight years, and was an adjunct professor in the Sports Management Program. During his time at Old Dominion, Benson was responsible for budget preparation and administration, as well as providing sport supervision for men’s and women’s sailing. During Benson’s tenure at Old Dominion, the Athletic Endowment grew more than $16 million and the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation annual fund grew from $400,000 to $4.1 million. Benson was responsible for soliciting seven $1 million plus gifts to athletics, as well as numerous significant commitments from donors.
Prior to his time at Old Dominion, Benson worked at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. as an Educational Channel manager. In his role with Coca-Cola, he managed the Educational Channel for the Commonwealth Division, which covers sales centers from eastern Delaware to eastern North Carolina. Benson developed financial and marketing proposals as well as negotiated beverage contracts with colleges and universities within his division.
Benson and his wife Hunter are the parents of three daughters — Vandy Grace, Lydon and Hannum — as well as a son, MJ. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University.