PROVIDENCE — After nearly five decades of working in collegiate athletics, Bob Driscoll announced Friday that he would be retiring as the athletic director of Providence College. He will officially leave his post in June.
Driscoll is often credited for transforming the college’s athletics program throughout his tenure. He came to Providence in June 2002 from the University of California with a goal having of a student-centered vision for athletics, where success was seen in the classroom while teams competed in national title games.
Over the course of the last decade, the university had seen a number of championships. In 2013, women’s cross country clinched their second NCAA title under longtime coach Ray Treacy. In 2014, the men’s basketball team took home the Big East Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the next five consecutive seasons.
The men’s hockey team made two Frozen Four appearances and six consecutive NCAA Tournaments. They captured their first NCAA Championship with a dramatic win against Boston University in April 2015 at TD Garden. It was the college’s third NCAA title and its first in a men’s sport. The men’s soccer team has also qualified for 10 NCAA Tournaments, which includes four trips to the round of 16, two quarterfinal appearances and one trip to the College Cup during Driscoll’s tenure alone.
“His ability to think outside the box and be creative are just a few the qualities that helped make him so effective,” men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley, who has worked at PC for the last 11 years, said in a statement. “Not only has he been a visionary athletic director, but he has been a mentor and a father figure, who has helped me grow. Bob has given all his coaches the opportunity to have success.”
In 2020, Driscoll was recognized with the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Builders’ Award.
“I came to Providence with a goal of a student-centered vision for athletics. I feel like I have played a part in creating a model program in college athletics with the student-athlete experience at the center of our vision,” said Driscoll in a statement.
Driscoll oversaw several renovations and building projects in the department during his time at Providence College. He saw the opening of the Concannon Fitness Center in 2007, next to the Lennon Family Field, which was completed two years prior.
A new astroturf surface was installed on Lennon Family Field in 2017, and a new video board was put in place the summer afterwards. In 2012, PC began a $3 million overhaul of Alumni Hall, which included seat backs, new lighting, air conditioning, video scoreboard and control room, a media workspace, sound system, and a host of other amenities. The project was completed within a few months.
Other facility upgrades included an $80 million renovation of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, which is the home venue for the Friars men’s basketball team.Driscoll worked with city and state officials on renovations that added 20 luxury boxes, new seats, a video scoreboard, sound system, updated restaurant and concession stands, a team store, locker rooms, and a new weight training and fitness center. The facility enabled the college to host First and Second Rounds of the 2010 and 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, which it will also host in 2025. Over the course of the pandemic, it helped serve as a state-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic.
Driscoll also established the Friars Athletic Fund, which made program upgrades possible. Each year, the department exceeded fundraising goals, raising more than $7 million in cash donations annually. During his tenure, the department raised more than $100 million and annual donations increased by 700 percent, according to department spokesman Arthur Parks.
Prior to joining PC, Driscoll worked at the University of California Berkley for more than 14 years. He also previously served as the athletic director and chair of the physical education department at Mills College in Oakland; was assistant athletic director at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.; and was captain and team MVP for three-consecutive years on the hockey team and played baseball at Ithaca College in New York.
Driscoll was raised in West Concord, Massachusetts, and was inducted into the inaugural class of Concord-Carlisle High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame for football, ice hockey, and baseball in 1993. He was also inducted into the 50th Anniversary Class of Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.
“I feel so fortunate that I have been able to spend the last 21 years as a member of the Providence College family,” he said. “I have a deep appreciation for the fans and donors who have supported our vision and have helped us transform our athletic department.”