Lenfest honored with VanderZwaag Award


WESTFIELD – Westfield State University Director of Athletics Richard (Dick) Lenfest, Jr. has been honored by his alma mater as a recipient of the Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UMass Amherst’s Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management.
Lenfest has been the athletic director at Westfield State since the 2005-06 season. In his tenure, Owls’ athletics has been recognized eight times as the Howard C. Smith Cup winner, representative of the best overall athletics program in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Owls won the Smith Cup in 2015, ’16, ’17, and 2018, the first four-year sweep in school history.
In the summer of 2018, Lenfest was recognized as an Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
During Lenfest’s tenure, Westfield has added varsity women’s lacrosse, men’s ice hockey, and men’s and women’s golf to its sport offerings. Lenfest has also led fundraising efforts that have helped Westfield State to establish its hockey team, improve its baseball and softball fields, and rename its track, creating endowed funds for track, hockey, and cross country, as well as starting the Owl Club annual and corporate giving programs and Owl Club golf tournament to support athletics.
Lenfest is a graduate of the sport management program at UMass Amherst, and earned his MBA from American International College, where he also served as assistant athletic director and assistant women’s basketball coach. Before beginning his career in college athletics, Lenfest worked for ten years in professional baseball as an assistant general manager in the New York Mets system, with stops in Pittsfield, Mass., and Kingsport, Tenn.
Other 2020 honorees included current Pittsburgh Pirates and former Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, MS 1997, Catherine Carlson, MS 1998, the Senior Vice President, Revenue and Strategy for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Daryl Jasper, BS 1993, vice president of Learfield’s East Region.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is named in honor of longtime professor Dr. VanderZwaag’s unwavering dedication and commitment to the department. Honorees are alumni who display professional excellence, outstanding achievement in the sports industry, and dedication to the McCormack Department of Sport Management.
The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the few sport management programs housed within a business school: the Isenberg School of Management. U.S. News & World Report ranks Isenberg as a top public undergraduate business school in New England, and Isenberg’s online MBA is ranked #3 in the world by the Financial Times (2019).
The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management is one of the oldest such programs in the world, and the program’s network includes more than 2,500 sport industry alumni, featuring leaders and innovators within every segment of the commercial sports industry. The department has one of the top undergraduate programs in the country, and its graduate program—consisting of master’s (MS) level as well as dual-degree (MBA/MS) concentrations—is currently ranked #1 in the world by one of the industry’s leading publications, SportBusiness. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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