AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron Department of Athletics announced on Tuesday the hiring of Cathy Bongiovi as the Zips' assistant athletics director for communications.
She will be responsible for formulating and executing a communications and public relations strategy to maximize coverage and exposure for Zips Athletics while overseeing the Communications and New Media offices. Additionally, Bongiovi will serve as the primary publicist for the football and women's tennis teams.
Her hiring is pending approval by the University's Board of Trustees.
"We are happy to announce the addition of Cathy Bongiovi to The University of Akron," Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said. "She brings a wealth of public and media relations experience from the professional and collegiate levels. Cathy will be a great asset to our department, and we are pleased to welcome her to our team."
"I am very excited to be an Akron Zip!" Bongiovi said. "I am looking forward to working with the Akron student-athletes, coaches and staff to tell their stories to our fans and the media."
Bongiovi, who has more than 20 years of Division I intercollegiate athletics experience, joins the Zips after seven years at Temple University, where she worked with the football and women's basketball teams.
Serving as the primary media contact for the football team, Bongiovi was one of just five women nationally to serve in that capacity at the Football Bowl Subdivision at the time of her hire in 2007.
During her time at Temple, Bongiovi worked with numerous National Football League (NFL) Draft picks, and her marketing and promotional materials helped propel the Owls athletics teams into the national limelight. She highlighted several student-athletes for prestigious national All-America honors and Heisman Trophy campaigns. Bongiovi worked with the Owls' football program during its recent appearances at the 2009 EagleBank Bowl and 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Bongiovi returned to Philadelphia after six seasons at the University of Virginia, where she served as the assistant media relations director. She worked with the football, women's basketball and rowing teams. Prior to her stint at Virginia, Bongiovi spent four years at Penn State, handling publicity for the PSU Final Four women's basketball and College Cup women's soccer programs.
Bongiovi has worked with legendary women's basketball coaches during her career, including Hall of Fame inductees Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Debbie Ryan (Virginia) and C. Vivian Stringer (Iowa). She has earned three Final Four rings from three different schools: Connecticut (1991), Iowa (1993) and Penn State (2000). She has helped promote more than two dozen eventual professional football players, including 10 NFL draftees.
A 1987 Penn State graduate in broadcast journalism, Bongiovi joined her alma mater in the fall of 1997 after serving two years as the assistant director of communications at the Atlantic 10 Conference in Philadelphia.
Following graduation, Bongiovi spent three seasons as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers public relations staff. She then served as an athletic communications assistant at the University of Connecticut, where she handled all publicity for the women's basketball team during its inaugural Final Four appearance in March 1991.
In August 1991, Bongiovi was named the assistant sports information director with the University of Iowa women's athletic department, and two years later she was promoted to sports information director for the Hawkeyes' 12 varsity women's sports, including the Final Four women's basketball and World Series softball programs.
A member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and Female Athletic Media Relations Executives (FAME), Bongiovi has earned numerous citations for excellence from CoSIDA in publication design. In 2005, Bongiovi was named the Chair of the CoSIDA Publications Committee. She also served as a member of the NCAA Women's Final Four media coordination staff from 1997 to 2001.
Bongiovi is a distant cousin to musician and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi.