Rensselaer Names Ken Ralph as Director of Athletics

May 30, 2002

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 compete.

“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 heights.”

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 department.

“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 1997.

“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


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit