Rensselaer Names Ken Ralph as Director of Athletics
Troy, N.Y. — Ken Ralph has been named director of athletics
at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
At Rensselaer, Ralph will oversee the Institute’s 23 NCAA
intercollegiate varsity teams — 11 of which are women’s — and
three junior varsity squads, involving nearly 600 students. He
inherits a men’s ice hockey team with a 100-year tradition of
excellence that was ranked nationally last year in the top 15.
The 2001 varsity football team finished the regular season with
a perfect 8-0 record and was the top seed in the Division III
NCAA playoffs. The 2001 women’s soccer team set a school record
for wins in a season (17-3-0), and the women’s field hockey
team ranked among the top 20 in the nation in 2001 and claimed
the state championship. The 2002 men’s baseball team ranked
11th in the country in Division III and the team advanced to
the Division III College World Series for the second time in
its history. During the 2001-2002 season, 117 Rensselaer
student-athletes were named to All-Academic teams by the
Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association in which they
“Ken Ralph’s enthusiasm, team-building skills, and passion for
creating a ‘whole’ student-athlete are the right mix for
Rensselaer’s athletic programs,” said Rensselaer President Dr.
Shirley Ann Jackson. “A critical part of the Rensselaer Plan is
to create a vibrant campus community and athletics is a
cornerstone of the student experience. I look forward to
working with Ken to take our entire athletic program to new
Ralph is senior assistant athletic director at Connecticut
College in New London, Conn., where he oversees a 26-team
Division III sports program and directs The Lott Natatorium.
Ralph heads athletic program development, is the NCAA
compliance officer, and supervises the coaching staff and the
sports information office. At Connecticut College he serves as
a member of the Athletic Director’s Advisory Committee and the
Athletic Management Committee. He secured a gift of $500,000 to
renovate the college’s natatorium, then called The Gordon
Center. The gift covered overall improvements to the facility
and a substantial endowment for future maintenance.
In addition, he serves as head swim coach of both the men’s
and women’s programs at Connecticut College, compiling a 50-33
record (101-72-1 in his coaching career). Since he began his
tenure in 1998, every one of his swim teams have earned
Academic All-America status from the College Swim Coaches
Association of America, and they have maintained a team average
GPA of 3.41. Ralph earned the 2000 Andrew Chait award for
outstanding service to Connecticut College and its athletic
“Together we can re-energize Rensselaer athletics and provide
all of the student-athletes tremendous opportunities to reach
their goals in the classroom, on the fields of play, and in the
community,” said Ralph.
Ralph began his head coaching career in 1992 at Georgetown
University, where his men’s and women’s swim teams broke 17
school records in two years. He became head coach at Kutztown
University in 1994 and produced nine All-Americans in 1996.
Both the men’s and women’s teams finished among the nation’s
top 12, and broke a total of 32 records over two years. Ralph
was chosen as the 1996 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
Coach of the Year. Later that year, he moved to Air Force
Academy where both swim teams earned All-America status with a
team GPA of at least 3.2. At Air Force, Ralph earned the
Moyer-Nike Award for Excellence in Coaching Women in 1996 and
the Air Force Award for Organizational Excellence in
“Ken has shown that you can have a bold and aggressive agenda
for athletics, while not compromising academic integrity,” said
Dr. Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life at
Rensselaer. “With his leadership, we will move Rensselaer
athletics to ever higher levels of excellence each year.”
Ralph is a graduate of the University of Alaska-Anchorage,
with a degree in political science. He was a five-time NCAA
Division II All-American in swimming (in 1989 in the 100- and
200-meter butterfly and in 1990 in the 100-meter butterfly and
100- and 200-meter backstroke) and went on to become a U.S.
Senior National Qualifier in 1989 and 1990.
Ralph’s community service activities have leveraged his
athletic experiences. He participates in Camp Rotary, an
academic and recreational camp for disadvantaged middle school
students in New London County, and he is a mentor in the
Connecticut College Office of Volunteers for Community Service,
an active Red Cross volunteer, works with the local police
departments, and has hosted the “Match” program with the New
London branch of Big Brother/Big Sister.
Ralph will begin his tenure at Rensselaer in July.
Contact: Theresa Bourgeois
Phone: (518) 276-2840