RPI To Announce New Athletics Director

Kristie Bowers, from Boston University, will be the first woman in the role

August 22, 2023


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will announce the appointment of Kristie Bowers, Ph.D., as its new associate vice president and director of athletics at a press conference at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at the East Campus Athletic Village’s main arena. Bowers comes from Boston University, where she has served as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator since 2019. She is succeeding Dr. Lee McElroy, who retired at the beginning of the summer after eight years with RPI. Bowers will be the first woman appointed to the role.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Kristie Bowers to RPI,” said President Marty Schmidt, Ph.D. ’81.“Her record of helping student-athletes to achieve both athletic and academic excellence makes Dr. Bowers the perfect fit for our community. She is committed to fostering healthy, well-rounded, student leaders, and we look forward to the growth of our programs and new heights of success for our athletes under Dr. Bowers’ leadership. We are also very proud to celebrate our first-ever female athletics director!”

At Boston University (BU), Bowers oversaw sport performance, wellness, academic support, leadership, and character and career development of student-athletes. She managed a significant endowment for the personal and professional development of student-athletes, staff, and coaches; a large summer financial aid budget for coursework; and a fueling station budget for student-athletes. She also coordinated the use of an NCAA Student Assistance Fund (SAF) to support additional medical and educational expenses of student-athletes. In the 2021-2022 academic year, all 24 teams at BU earned a grade point average of 3.0 or above, seven teams earned a perfect academic progress rate (APR), and a graduation success rate of 95% was achieved. As sport administrator, Bowers oversaw two Patriot League Championship Titles (Women’s Rowing and Men’s Lacrosse, 2022), four regular season Patriot League Titles (Women’s Soccer 2021, Women’s Rowing 2022, Men’s Lacrosse 2022, Women’s Basketball 2023), and two second-place finishes at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta (Lightweight Rowing 2022, 2023).

“I am thrilled to join the RPI community,” said Bowers. “The student-athlete experience at RPI is exceptional, and I look forward to working with the department’s team of coaches and administrators to build on the foundation of success and support of our student-athletes as they excel academically, athletically, and personally while positively contributing to the greater Troy community.  I would like to thank President Schmidt and the members of the search committee for their belief in me as the next leader of the Engineers.”

“I am super excited for Dr. Bowers to lead the athletics department at RPI,” said Dave Smith, C. Lloyd Bauer ’55 Endowed Men’s Varsity Ice Hockey Coach. “Coming from a school that has terrific academics in combination with elite athletic programs, she has seen the commitment and preparation necessary for success. Her skill set and leadership style is well-suited for all of us at RPI.”

Prior to her role at Boston University, Bowers was the assistant athletic director for student-athlete support and development at Binghamton University. She oversaw academic support programs for 400 student-athletes. Bowers served as the liaison to academic awards at the department, university, SUNY, and conference levels. She monitored degree progress and continuing eligibility for 59 student-athletes in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling. Bowers helped the men’s basketball team achieve a 1000 APR in both 2017 and 2018.

Previously, she was an academic adviser for the men’s soccer and softball teams. Bowers oversaw a $30,000 NCAA Choices grant to support programming efforts toward reduction of risk-taking behaviors of student-athletes. She also helped to secure a $500,000 donation to enhance the aesthetic appeal and support services offered to student-athletes. Bowers’ guidance helped lead student-athletes to the highest grade-point average in department history (3.29) in her final semester at Binghamton.

Bowers also served as the sport administrator for women’s tennis and as the co-leader for the Bearcats' athletics leadership institute, while managing a support budget for tutoring and mentoring as part of the Student-Athlete Opportunity Fund. Prior, Bowers spent five seasons as an assistant women's soccer coach with the Bearcats, sparking a defensive unit that produced seven shutouts and allowed less than one goal per game in her first year.

As an undergraduate, Bowers was a standout in goal for the Bearcats, helping them earn their first conference title and NCAA berth as a sophomore before finishing fifth in the nation in save percentage the following year. She holds school records for career saves (383) and minutes played (6,544). Following graduation, Bowers was goalkeeper for the Rochester Ravens (2005-06) and Rochester Rhinos (2007) of the United Soccer League’s W-League Northern Division. As the graduate assistant coach and goalkeeper coach for the Western Carolina University (WCU) Catamounts, Bowers helped the program capture the 2008 Southern Conference title and advance to the NCAA tournament.

Bowers earned a Ph.D. in community and public affairs from Binghamton, a master’s in teaching from WCU, and a bachelor’s in human development from Binghamton. Bowers is married to Leah Bowers (Binghamton ’02, ’04), a member of the Bearcats’ Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Dr. Bowers understands the RPI student-athlete, what we are about, and what we go through daily,” said Nate Sicard ’25, a member of the football team. “She understands the importance of transparency from the administration to the student-athletes. As a former athlete with administrative experience, Dr. Bowers is a ‘for the student’ type of athletics director who does not shy away from doing what is right for her student-athletes. I am confident that she will take RPI to the next level with her unique experience, personable personality, and her strong leadership skills.”

Written By Katie Malatino
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