Since taking over as the Director of Athletics and Recreation on August 27, 2004, Dan Coonan has helped take the Broncos to new heights on the fields, in the classroom and in the community. For his efforts, he was recently named as one of the Bay Area's Top 25 Sports Power Players by the San Jose Mercury News.
In the past six years, the Broncos have won two WCC Commissioner's Cups, finishing as the runner-up twice. They have won nine WCC Championships, and teams or athletes from 10 different sports have advanced to post-season play at least once. Twenty Bronco teams have advanced to NCAA Tournaments - two reaching the Final Four, including volleyball in 2005 - the first time a WCC volleyball team achieved that milestone. Two more teams reached the national quarterfinals. The Broncos have had one National Player of the Year, 21 All-Americans, and eight Conference Players of the Year. Five different programs have appeared at least once in the top 15 national rankings among Division I programs, 10 Bronco coaches have been named Coach of the Year and one was National Coach of the Year.
Academically, the Broncos have also been record-setting. Cross Country captain Noelle Lopez was honored as the first-ever Santa Clara female Rhodes Scholar in 2009. Santa Clara University's student-athletes posted a 3.13 grade point average (GPA) for the Spring 2010 quarter. It is the highest grade point average on record for Santa Clara, topping the 3.11 grade point average the Bronco student-athletes posted in the Winter 2009 quarter. Santa Clara's student-athletes have achieved a 3.0 GPA or better 10 of the last 11 quarters. Santa Clara's cumulative GPA for its student-athletes is 3.08.
Individually, Santa Clara had 23 student-athletes achieve a perfect 4.0 GPA for the Spring 2010 quarter and 61 student-athletes posted a 3.7 GPA or higher. Thirteen Bronco programs posted a 3.0 GPA or better for the Spring 2010 quarter, with nine teams posting a 3.2 GPA or better for the Spring 2010 quarter
Coonan has challenged Bronco student-athletes to give back to their community. Community service is now a central theme of the mission of the Athletic Department, mirroring the mission of the University. Bronco teams frequently take immersion trips to some of the world's trouble spots to build homes or provide other assistance to the poor.
Following his arrival on the Mission Campus, Coonan has helped energize the Bronco Bench Foundation (BBF), while re-connecting the athletic department with its roots. Under his leadership, SCU has seen a rise in contributions to the Bronco Bench, as Santa Clara continues to attempt to increase its scholarship base. The Bronco Sports Magazine, unveiled in 2005, is now produced three times a year to tell the story of Santa Clara Athletics, and to keep BBF donors all over the world connected to Bronco success on the fields, in the classroom and in the community.
School spirit is also on the rise, fueled by Coonan's decision to move the student section for basketball to center court and by his decision to encourage the return of the student pep band. Coonan also oversaw the successful opening of Stephen Schott Stadium for baseball, considerably upgraded Buck Shaw Stadium through a deal with the San Jose Earthquakes, built a new synthetic turf practice field with fund-raised dollars, and this past year unveiled the new Sullivan Aquatics Center courtesy of Jack and Joanie Sullivan. The Leavey west side bleachers were also reconstructed this past year to formalize the student section extending from baseline to baseline, and adding season-ticket chairbacks and bleachers above.
Coonan came to Santa Clara from Cal, where he oversaw all aspects of football and men's and women's basketball and volleyball. He also managed the department's strength and conditioning and sports medicine units as well as legal affairs and event management. He served as the department's primary television contact for football and basketball broadcasts, conducted a successful search for football coach Jeff Tedford and negotiated the institution's first multi-sport apparel and equipment contract with Nike.
Prior to Cal, Coonan worked at the Pac-10 Conference in Walnut Creek, Calif., where he managed the league's NCAA and conference rules enforcement program and oversaw the NCAA and conference governance and legislative process. He also organized the conference's gambling issues committee and conducted campus audits and education sessions on NCAA and league rules.
Prior to working for the Pac-10 Office, he had stints in the Athletics Departments at Cal, Central Connecticut State and Notre Dame.
A 1984 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Coonan received his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1987, where he earned a spot on the Law Review. In his final semester he clerked for Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District. After passing the California Bar exam, Coonan worked as an associate attorney for Smith & Hilbig in Torrance for five years before becoming a partner at Nakahara & Lane. In 1994, he served as the finance director for the United States congressional campaign of Corky Larson.
Coonan is the fifth director of athletics at Santa Clara since Pat Malley took over the reigns in 1965. Since that time, Tom O'Connor (1986-92), Carroll Williams (1992-2000) and Cheryl Levick (2000-2004) have served in that role on the Mission Campus. Coonan oversees all aspects of operating the department's 19 NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports as well as its recreation, intramural and club sports programs.
Coonan, a devoted father and husband, is married to the former Donna Kreter and the couple have three children, Claire, Tommy and Kevin. Since 2006 Dan and his family have been involved in The Box Project, a non-profit service organization addressing rural poverty. In addition, Dan and his daughter Claire volunteer monthly with InnVision, a Bay Area non-profit organization serving the homeless. Dan was added to the Board of Directors of InnVision in September of 2009