NORTON, Mass. - After 14 years as a staff member, including the last seven as the Director of Athletics & Recreation, John Sutyak '00, has announced his resignation from Wheaton College at the end of June.
"I don't think I need to tell anyone what Wheaton College, and specifically this athletic department, means to me personally and professionally," stated Sutyak. "Over 17 years of my life have been spent on this campus. My fellow classmates in the class of 2000, teammates on the baseball team, alumni, staff, faculty, and students are like family to me. The decision to leave is a personal one and certainly is bittersweet. However, I am excited about new opportunities that are out there for me in my professional career."
A 2000 graduate of Wheaton, Sutyak returned to his alma mater in July of 2006 after a three-year stint in the Yale University athletic department. Returning to Wheaton as the Assistant Director of Athletics, he was promoted to the Associate Director role in 2007 and the Interim Director in 2011, before assuming the Director post in April of 2012. In doing so, Sutyak became just the second athletic director at Wheaton in the co-educational era, as he succeeded longtime athletic director, Chad Yowell.
"I will forever be grateful to Chad bringing me back to Wheaton in 2006 and allowing me to learn under his guidance," said Sutyak. "I am also thankful for former Vice President and Dean of Students, Lee Burdette Williams, for trusting me at a fairly young age to take charge of the athletic program. They both have had a profound impact on me and my gratitude to them for their leadership and mentorship is more than they will ever know."
Since taking over as the director, Sutyak played a part in the development and construction of the $3.8 million Diane C. Nordin '80 Athletic Field, the first artificial surface in Wheaton's history, in addition to helping to transform the Tokarz Team Room into a varsity weight room for Wheaton student-athletes. He led Wheaton through the development and implementation of its inaugural athletics Hall of Fame class in 2013, has helped to grow the department by five full-time staff members and was able to secure four NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship grants over his entire Wheaton career. Sutyak oversaw the growth of the Lyons Athletic Club, seeing donors and contributions grow over 1,100% since 2011. Additionally, this past year, Wheaton athletics implemented the AllWheAre leadership program, which provides leadership opportunities to each Wheaton College student-athlete.
"During his time as our director of athletics, John has had a huge and positive impact on thousands of Wheaton College student-athletes through his leadership of Athletics and his unwavering support of every Lyons' team," stated Wheaton College President, Dennis Hanno. "He has been a constant presence on the sidelines and has taken the time to get to know every athlete on a personal level. His impact on Wheaton extends far beyond Athletics, as he has also been a leader in many campus-wide initiatives. He will be missed here at Wheaton but he will always be a member of the Wheaton family."
On the field, Wheaton teams have qualified for NCAA championship events 33 times, highlighted by baseball's run to the national championship game in 2012, a fourth-place finish by the women's indoor track and field team in 2014, three additional top-10 finishes by the women's track & field program and regional championships by baseball in 2012 and 2017 and softball in 2015. Wheaton has won 16 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season and conference titles in Sutyak's tenure and finished in the top 15% of the NACDA Directors Cup three times.
Outside of Wheaton, Sutyak is wrapping up a six-year term on the NEWMAC Executive Committee and completed a two-year tenure as NEWMAC President in June of 2017, which gave him the distinction of being the first NEWMAC President that also competed as a NEWMAC student-athlete. In his time as President, Sutyak was a part of the leadership team that implemented football as the NEWMACs 20th sport, added The Catholic University of America as the NEWMAC's eighth football-playing member and played a role in the rebranding of the NEWMAC logo and marks. In addition to his work with the NEWMAC, he has served the NCAA as the New England chair for the NCAA Division III softball championship committee from 2009-2012.
"Serving my alma mater in this capacity will forever be one of the highlights of my life and I will close this chapter of my career with nothing but fond memories. While I am looking forward to my next step professionally, I am also looking forward to continuing to serve Wheaton as a member of our alumni community."
Wheaton will begin a national search for its next Director of Athletics & Recreation shortly.