|Position:||Director of Athletics|
Mark Benson has served as the University at Albany’s athletic director since Aug. 20, 2014. He provides leadership for an 18-sport athletics program that has won 115 conference championships since moving up to Division I in 1999.
Benson’s tenure has been marked by victories on the fields, academic success of student-athletes and fundraising growth.
UAlbany teams captured eight championships in 2018-19, and off the field, were equally successful in the classroom. Student-athletes posted GPAs higher than 3.0 in both the Fall and Spring. Meanwhile, as a department, UAlbany coaches, staff and student-athletes continued to demonstrate a commitment to helping others, performing hundreds of hours of community service.
In 2017-18, UAlbany won an unprecedented sixth consecutive America East Commissioner’s Cup on the strength of six conference titles, two runner-up finishes and four regular-season championships. The men’s lacrosse program also reached new heights, qualifying for the Final Four for the first time. Additionally, UAlbany student-athletes maintained a 3.11 grade-point average.
During the 2016-17 season, UAlbany finished 40th nationally in the Capital One Cup standings, which honors the nation’s top athletic programs. The Great Danes also earned an America East-record nine conference tournament titles, including a sixth straight for the women’s basketball program. And for a fifth consecutive year, UAlbany also took the America East’s Commissioner Cup, awarded annually to the program with the strongest performance in competition.
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 daugters -- Vandy Grace, Lydon and Hannum - and a son, MJ. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University.