LOWELL — After more than three decades of leadership and service at UMass Lowell, including the last 23 years as director of intercollegiate athletics, Dana Skinner is retiring in September.
A native of Danvers, Skinner was a Division II All-American basketball player for Merrimack College, where he graduated in 1978. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the third round (50th overall) of the NBA draft and played briefly for the Maine Lumberjacks of the Continental Basketball Association.
Skinner recently led the university’s successful transition to NCAA Division I competition, a comprehensive five-year process that was formally completed last summer.
“Dana has made a profound and lasting impact not only on the River Hawks athletic program, but on the university as a whole,” said Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “UMass Lowell is extremely fortunate to have had someone with Dana’s vision, commitment and competitiveness at the helm of our athletic department, and as a member of our senior leadership team, during such a transformative era. We are thankful for all that he has accomplished.”
“To this university and the people here, I owe everything,” Skinner said. “UMass Lowell gave me the opportunity to have meaning and purpose in my work, and not everyone gets to do that. I have had the pleasure of working alongside so many great people across the Lowell campus and the UMass system to ensure the integrity of the athletic program, while at the same time establishing a foundation for our student-athletes to enjoy success in academics, athletics and as caring citizens.”
Skinner will be replaced by Peter Casey, who has served as deputy director of athletics since 2013. A 1993 graduate of Bowdoin College, Casey has worked in college and professional athletics for the past 25 years.
Skinner’s commitment to excellence is reflected in the achievements of UMass Lowell’s student-athletes. This year, in its first as an “active” Division I member, UMass Lowell finished fourth in the America East Commissioner’s Cup standings, which ranks the overall success of varsity teams.
He has always kept a focus on both sides of the “student-athlete” hyphen. Since joining the Division I America East Conference in 2013, UMass Lowell student-athletes have achieved a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher every semester.
A firm believer that sports can be used to promote positive social change, Skinner took pride in the River Hawks’ community engagement efforts with the Special Olympics, the National Youth Sports Program, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Team Impact.
During his tenure, UMass Lowell has invested nearly $80 million in construction and renovation projects of the university athletic facilities, including the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, LeLacheur Park, the Costello Athletic Center, the Campus Recreation Center, the Cushing Field Complex, the Riverview Field Softball Complex and the UMass Lowell Bellegarde Boathouse. He also helped develop the Campus Recreation Program to what it is today, providing intramural, club sport and fitness opportunities to all students.
Skinner was named the Division II NACDA Northeast Athletic Director of the Year in 2003 and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.