Earlier today, Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 announced to the community that Neil Cunningham has been appointed as St. Andrew’s next athletic director, effective July 1, 2022.
As athletic director, Neil will manage and oversee all aspects of the school’s athletics program. Neil will be responsible for establishing the vision and goals for Saints athletics; articulating this vision to students, colleagues, parents, alumni, and prospective families; and supporting the achievement of this vision by securing the resources (both human and financial) for its success. He will collaborate closely with the dean of admission to ensure that St. Andrew’s is attracting the highest-potential student-athletes who will contribute to our sports, academic, and residential programs, and will also collaborate closely with the dean of faculty professional development to recruit experienced teacher-coaches who will contribute to the excellence of our athletic programs. Neil will also be responsible for connecting coaches with professional development programs, and working with coaches both individually and as a group to improve performance and outcomes.
Neil comes to St. Andrew’s with extensive experience in coaching, teaching, sports management, and athletics strategic planning. He is currently the assistant athletic director at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he also serves as the head coach of the women’s soccer team. Prior to joining Washington & Lee, Neil was the executive director of the Valley AFC Soccer Club in Roanoke, Virginia, and head coach of the men’s and women’s soccer teams at Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia. Neil originally hails from the United Kingdom. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and religious studies from Brunel University in London, England, and a master’s degree in sport leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
“I am humbled and honored to be named St. Andrew’s next athletic director,” Neil said. “During my visit to campus, the students, faculty, coaches and administrators all shared a genuine passion for the school and for each other’s personal and professional growth. The school’s mission aligns with my own beliefs and values, and I know I have found a special place. I look forward to working with Joy, school leadership, and St. Andrew’s coaches—but most of all, I am looking forward to serving the students of St. Andrew’s and helping to take teams to the next level. It is an exciting time to be a Saint!”
In her email to the school community, Joy wrote, “Neil stood out as a leader who embraced St. Andrew’s mission, and our approach to athletics as an essential part of an excellent education. He is first and foremost an educator who is passionate about the development of young people, and I know that he is going to be a tremendous addition to St. Andrew’s faculty.”
“St. Andrew’s is getting an outstanding professional in Neil Cunningham,” said Washington and Lee Athletic Director Jan Hathorn. “His energy, administrative IQ, commitment to excellence, and belief that academics and athletics are mutually beneficial are but a few of the many qualities Neil will bring to this position. It is hard to imagine Washington and Lee physical education and athletics without Neil. We are at once so grateful for his service and so excited for St. Andrew’s and what their future holds with Neil as athletic director. We wish them both the best of all that lies ahead.”
Neil was identified as St. Andrew’s next athletic director from a field of outstanding candidates in an exhaustive national search. Neil succeeds Heidi Pearce ’00 as athletic director; Al Wood P’21,’21,’21 has led the school’s athletic program in the interim. Following Neil’s appointment, Al will continue in his role as assistant director of athletics.