Dana Skinner

Dana Skinner is the Athletic Director at UMass Lowell.

Dana Skinner has served as the Athletic Director for the University of Massachusetts Lowell since 1995, and he has overseen some tremendous changes to the UML Athletic Department. Some UMass Lowell accomplishments during Skinner’s tenure include admission into the Northeast-10 Conference in 2000, increased funding and coaching for women’s programs, and the construction of new facilities and upgrades of existing facilities.

Skinner has overseen $65 million in facility projects and upgrades. Major upgrades were done at Lowell landmarks to accomodate UML athletics, including upgrades at Tsongas Arena, LeLacheur Park, and the Cushing Field Complex. Under Skinner’s leadership, new modernized locker rooms have been built, upgraded office space has been added, and major renovations have been done to Costello Athletic Center, and a $19.5 million Campus Recreation Center has been built as well.

Perhaps the most important contribution of Skinner’s has been in the area of student-athlete development. Skinner is a supporter of the Student Athlete Advisory Council and the Champs/Life Skills Program, which provides student-athletes with a personalized program of academic support. Skinner believes that sports can be used to promote positive social change, and River Hawks athletes reach out to 10,000 young people in the Greater Lowell area annually, helping to make the community a better place to live and to learn.

Skinner graduated from Merrimack College, and he has served in many different capactities in the UMass Lowell Athletics Department since his arrival on campus in 1988. After graduating from Merrimack, Skinner was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1978. Skinner is a member of the Athletics Hall of Fame at Merrimack College as well as at Danvers High School Hall of Fame.

Interview

Lowell.com: How does the Lowell community impact athletics at UMass Lowell?

Dana Skinner: A vibrant community makes UMass Lowell a more attractive option for prospective students and also enhances the quality of the overall experience for current students. In addition, Lowell has much to offer in the way of outreach activities, which provides opportunities for our student-athletes to direct the energy and spirit of winning to positively change society. Finally, we work hard to engage the community by providing enjoyable experiences during our many sporting events. Often times, it’s during these events that we first develop direct connections to the families of the Lowell community.

Lowell.com: Do you have a favorite spot in Lowell where you like to take recruits to show them the area?

Dana Skinner: As the Athletic Director, I often meet with prospective student during campus visits; however, I am not directly involved in arranging activities during the visits–the coaches of our 16 sports teams handle those responsibilities.

Lowell.com: What has changed on campus the most during your tenure, and what would you like to see changed?

Dana Skinner: n the area of athletics & recreation, what has changed most is the quality of facilities. Very few institutions can match LeLacheur Baseball Park, the Tsongas Arena, and our Campus Recreation Center. These facilities have created a heightened awareness of the University, but more importantly, they serve as an example of what can be accomplished when a city and a university work together toward the common goal of improving the quality of life for its citizens and students.

I would like to see more members of the University community engaged in the downtown area. Many don’t realize how much the downtown area has to offer.

Lowell.com: What is your favorite River Hawk tradition?

Dana Skinner: In recent years it has become the Blue Fan Group, which is the student support team on campus. They bring creative energy to every athletic event and offer much-needed support to the sports teams. I’m looking forward to watching this group develop as the University increases its resident population.

I also enjoy what we refer to as our Senior Salute, which comes each year at the conclusion of our season-ending Excellence Banquet. It is an opportunity for our entire athletic family to extend our thanks and gratitude to seniors who play such a vital role in the continuity of the Department.

Lowell.com: In the last several years, what UML improvement or achievement are you most proud of?

Dana Skinner: I am most proud of the team that’s been assembled–the coaches and staff–and the commitment they make to ensuring that the four years at Lowell are memorable for our student-athletes. Because sporting events and so many of the associated activities are scheduled on nights and weekends they work extraordinary hours, and that’s not always appreciated.

Lowell.com: What is the most important thing you tell the parents of recruits and current athletes when they are considering UMass Lowell?

Dana Skinner: That college should be four of the best years for their sons and daughters. Our student-athletes will be challenged individually and have opportunities as teams to achieve at a high level, but most importantly, they will be exposed to a world outside athletics. Our commitment is to promote the balance needed to maximize the many learning opportunities available on a college campus. I also tell them the food on campus is terrific, which we all know is a top concern for growing young people!

Lowell.com: Thanks, Dana! We are happy to support UMass Lowell athletics and encourage others to come to the games and bring the kids. The prices are great, the games are fun, and UML teams are always competitive.