SJSU Names Seasoned Administrator and Committed Spartan Marie Tuite to Serve as Athletics Director

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations Director, 408-924-1748,
Lawrence Fan, SJSU Athletics Media Relations Director, 408-924-1217,

San Jose, Calif. — President Mary A. Papazian announced today that she has appointed Marie Tuite to serve as the university’s next athletics director. A seasoned administrator and committed Spartan who had been heading Spartan Athletics on an interim basis, Tuite brings to the office a lifetime of professional experience in athletics leadership that she began as an aspiring teacher and outstanding collegiate basketball and field hockey player.

“We searched nationally for the best athletics director we could find—and we found her, right here,” President Papazian said. “Marie Tuite has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the success of all students, to our university’s mission, and to the principle that athletics should be woven into the fabric of the university.”

As the search committee found (members listed below), Tuite’s accomplishments are many. She spent five years working in the NCAA head office. She has served in leadership roles on six college campuses including the past seven years at San Jose State. She played an integral role in major initiatives such as securing SJSU’s membership in the Mountain West, cultivating new revenue sources, recruiting and supporting key personnel, and the planning and implementation of a massive update to SJSU’s athletics facilities.

“I am delighted that we have found in Marie Tuite an outstanding leader who has so clearly and amply demonstrated what we were seeking: an enthusiastic, committed, hardworking, forward thinking athletics director firmly focused on the success of all our students during their time here and after graduation,” said Annette Nellen, search committee chair, SJSU Athletics Board chair, and professor of accounting and finance.

Accomplished collegiate sports leader

Tuite will also leave her mark in SJSU history as the first woman to serve as athletics director since San Jose State combined its men’s and women’s programs in 1987 and one of just a handful of women to lead an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program. At a news conference announcing her appointment, she thanked colleagues, mentors, family and friends for their support, and she vowed to make the same opportunities available to everyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m excited to take on these new responsibilities as San Jose State’s next athletics director. I’m looking forward to working with our campus and community partners, donors, and most importantly, our student athletes, coaches and Athletics Department staff,” Tuite said. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work closely with President Papazian, and I’m elated with the new opportunity.”

During her tenure, the Spartans played in and won two football bowl games and won 11 conference championships in seven sports, including incredible performances this year by tennis and softball, earning both teams NCAA tournament berths.

Tuite’s many contributions since arriving at SJSU in 2010 include:

  • administering the athletics department’s $26 million budget in support of 450 student athletes, 110 staff members and 20 sports;
  • helping cinch a naming rights agreement for CEFCU Stadium, the Home of the Spartans, and an all-sports apparel partnership with Adidas;
  • eliminating a $2.3 million department deficit while bringing five new sports to campus: men’s water polo, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, beach volleyball, men’s track and field;
  • serving as the administrative lead for the football, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s golf programs.

Committed teacher and mentor

Previous to San Jose State, Tuite served as senior associate athletics director for sports programs at the University of Washington, assistant women’s athletics director at UC Berkeley, assistant director of championships for the NCAA, and special assistant to the athletics director at Seattle University. She began her career as a physical education instructor at primary and secondary schools before moving on to coaching and teaching at Alma College, all in her home state of Michigan.

Tuite remains committed to teaching and mentoring, serving as an adjunct professor for the University of Washington Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership master’s program. She earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s in athletics administration from Central Michigan University, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Tuite holds memberships in the National Association of College Directors of Athletics, Women Leaders in College Sports, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She is the proud mother of two grown sons.

Search committee members

  • Annette Nellen, Search Committee Chair, SJSU Athletics Board Chair, and Professor of Accounting and Finance
  • Stefan Frazier, Associate Professor of Linguistics and Language Development and Academic Senate Vice Chair
  • Brandon Clarke and Nicole Iloanya, Students
  • Wayne Wright, Women’s Gymnastics Head Coach
  • Steve Caplan, Alumnus and Tower Board Member
  • Walt Jacobs, Dean of the College of Social Sciences
  • Jaye Bailey, Vice President for Organizational Development and Chief of Staff
  • Paul Lanning, Vice President for University Advancement and Tower Board CEO
  • Andy Feinstein, Provost and Senior Vice President

About San Jose State University

The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San José State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 250 areas of study – offered through its eight colleges.

With more than 35,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San José State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing more than 7,000 graduates to the workforce.

The university is immensely proud of the accomplishments of its more than 220,000 alumni, 60 percent of whom live and work in the Bay Area.

About San Jose State University Athletics

San Jose State University’s athletics program sponsors 20 NCAA Division I sports (7 men’s and 13 women’s) and offers an intercollegiate athletics experience to at least 450 student-athletes annually. The Spartans compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest level of college football. San Jose State is a member of the Mountain West — a conference of 12 football-playing schools in the Pacific, Mountain and Hawaiian time zones.