Jack Cole begins his second year as Director of Athletics at Messiah in 2011-2012. In the summer of 2010 Cole became Interim Director of Athletics and in October 2011 he accepted this role full-time.
Cole assumed the role in conjunction with his Health and Human Performance Department Chair duties in July of 2010, and took over leadership of one of the nation’s most successful NCAA Division III athletics programs as a result.
Just one year into his tenure, and the department has flourished.
In addition to yet another team national championship under his watch, the athletics department has seen a multitude of improvements off the athletic venue, including the development and implementation of the Falcon Athletic Network, as well as the resurrection of the Messiah Athletics Hall of Honor.
“We continue to be pleased that Jack has willingly agreed to step in and serve as our Director of Athletics,” said Kris Hansen-Kieffer, Messiah Vice Provost and Dean of Students. “His experience in both administration and intercollegiate athletics made him especially qualified for this position, and he has performed admirably.”
Cole arrived to his new position with a vast knowledge of both Messiah and Falcons’ sports, as the one-time Messiah men’s basketball coach begins his 27th year at the institution in 2011-2012. Cole previously served as the Health and Human Performance Department Chair from 1991-1993 before beginning his second stint in 2003, first arriving to Messiah as an instructor in 1985.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenge,” Cole said upon accepting his new role. “We have an excellent NCAA Division III athletics program, one of the best in the country. I hope to build on that success as we move forward. Because of my work as a department chair, I’m excited about the possibilities of a closer working relationship between athletics and academics. I think there is real potential for our sports management majors to become more closely involved with our athletics programs here, and that’s an exciting component.”
Cole conceptualized and developed the school’s Sports Management major in 2003, and has served as the academic director since its inception. With 240 students, the Health and Human Performance Department is currently the institution’s third-largest academic department.
Athletically, Cole served as Messiah’s men’s golf head coach from 1988-1993 and its men’s basketball head coach from 1993-1996, working as a men’s basketball assistant coach from 1985-1991. He was a member of the NCAA Regional Committee during his final two years as the Falcons’ round ball leader.
Prior to coming to Messiah, Cole worked at Malone College, his alma mater, for three years. After graduating in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in history and physical education, Cole served as both sports information director and assistant men’s basketball coach. Following a master’s degree in sports science from Ashland University in 1984, Cole returned to Malone as a health and physical education instructor.
Over the years, Cole has taught over 10 different college courses and co-authored three academic publications, helping to land three curriculum grants and another four scholarship grants during his time at Messiah. Cole remains an active member of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, among other organizations.
Messiah’s Health and Human Performance Department encompasses five academic majors: Sports Management, Adventure Education, Athletic Training, Health & Exercise Science, and Health & Physical Education. As Cole made the natural leap to intercollegiate athletics, he now guides a program that has won 12 team national championships since 2000, including another six individual titles. Messiah has finished within the top 25 of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup final standings on seven different occasions.
“My role as Interim Director of Athletics is to continue to provide direction and support to the coaches and student-athletes,” Cole said. “The development of new initiatives to enhance the quality of the athletics programs is also a continuous goal as we strive to achieve athletic excellence through Christian character.”
Cole is married to Michelle, his wife of 29 years. The couple has three children, Ashley (25), Tyler (23) and Grant (19). They reside in nearby Dillsburg, Pa.