WHITINGHAM, Vt. -- The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) today announced the appointment of Marcella K. Zalot to the position of Commissioner. Zalot becomes only the second permanent Commissioner succeeding Julie Muller who is finishing her 11th year with the conference.
"As NAC presidents we were deeply impressed by Marcella's extensive experience in Division III athletics, her terrific management skills, and her vision for our conference," said Kate Foster, President of the University of Maine at Farmington and incoming chair of the NAC Presidents Council. "We are confident and delighted that she will continue the tradition of strong NAC leadership and very much look forward to working with her in the years ahead."
The NAC commissioned a nation-wide search under the direction of Jamey Ventura, Johnson State College Director of Athletics and NAC AD Council Chair, to select a replacement for Muller, who will retire from her position on June 30, 2016.
“On behalf of the search committee, we are thrilled to have Marcella join the NAC as our next Commissioner,” said Ventura. “The committee sorted through a very competitive candidate pool for the position and it was Marcella’s depth of experience, understanding of the DIII philosophy, clear articulation on where the North Atlantic Conference is and where we can go, and her passion for this position that proved she needed to be our next leader.”
In her role as Commissioner, Zalot will serve as the chief executive of the NAC, reporting to the Presidents Council and working closely with the leadership of each member institution to provide direction and support for this well-established New England conference.
"I am excited and honored to have been selected as the next Commissioner of the North Atlantic Conference," said Zalot. “I want to thank the search committee and the NAC Presidents for putting their faith in me to lead the conference. I was impressed with the collegiality, professionalism and integrity throughout the interview process of everyone involved and I look forward to working with the member institutions to advance the strategic goals of the North Atlantic Conference.”
Zalot noted, “Julie Muller has done tremendous work in the development and growth of the North Atlantic Conference and she has left some big shoes to fill. I am excited to build upon the work that Julie has done, and to continue to create opportunities for NAC student-athletes to reach their potential in the classroom and on a competitive playing field.”
Zalot brings an extensive background in athletics to the NAC, most recently serving as Colby College’s first Harold Alfond Director of Athletics, from July 2002 until December 2014. At Colby, Zalot was responsible for all aspects of the athletic department including hiring and supervision of coaching staff, managing and enhancing Colby’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and overall program development. As the only full-time administrator in the athletics department, Zalot oversaw 32 varsity sports, 12 club sports and the intramural program, while working with over 650 varsity student-athletes, 1,000 students, and 60 coaches and staff annually. Under her leadership, Colby added two artificial turf fields and built one of the finest outdoor track and field complexes in New England. Zalot also led the effort to more than double the assistant coaching staff within a three-year period and was responsible for implementing the Colby Leadership Academy, a leadership development program for students and coaches.
Colby student-athletes demonstrated notable success during Zalot’s tenure, winning four national championships, including Colby’s only NCAA Championship in a team sport, women’s rowing in 2003. Four team sports captured New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championships in a five-year period, while 17 individual student-athletes were crowned NESCAC Champions.
Prior to her tenure as the Harold Alfond Director of Athletics, Zalot served as the Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Colby for five years. She arrived at Colby in 1997 following four years as the Assistant Director of Athletics at Harvard University with primary responsibilities in compliance. Prior to her time at Harvard she worked for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from 1989 to 1992 as an eligibility representative, analyzing and researching violations by NCAA member institutions. Zalot has participated in numerous national and regional initiatives and has been a member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, and the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators.
Originally from Southampton, Mass., Zalot earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith College. While at Smith, she was a goalkeeper on the ’86 women's soccer team that went to the first-ever NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament and was a 1,000-point scorer and two-year captain in women's basketball. A 2013 inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, Zalot still holds Smith records in career rebounds (957), single-season rebounds (315), and rebounds in a game (23). Zalot went on to earn her master’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts, while also serving as a graduate assistant coach in women’s basketball.
Founded in the fall of 1999, the North Atlantic Conference is comprised of 10 NCAA Division-III institutions across New England. Those institutions include Castleton University, Colby-Sawyer College, the University of Maine at Farmington, Green Mountain College, Husson University, Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Maine Maritime Academy, New England College, and Thomas College. Featuring 17 championship sports, the North Atlantic Conference provides quality competitive opportunities and educational experiences through scheduling, post season, and co-curricular activities. The conference adheres to the NCAA philosophy, institution’s missions, and its core values.