RIT’s new Athletic Director: ‘I think it’s just an opportunity to show what I’m made of’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — RIT Athletics is undergoing some change, not the least of which is is a whole new athletic facility, but the center of everything new is perhaps the biggest change: Who’s in charge of it all.

History was made in Henrietta this past summer. Lou Spiotti Jr. retired as the longest-tenured athletic director in school history after 41 years at the helm. It left a void; a void that wound up being filled by Jacqueline Nicholson.

Nicholson: "The last three weeks, I’ve taken the time to meet with every single one of our programs and their head coach and their captains."

Athletic Communications Assistant Steve Jaynes: "She came in, hit the ground running and came in with a lot of energy and ideas and you just can’t help but feel a part of it and go along with the momentum."

Nicholson comes from Albany State where she spent the past four years as Associate AD. Now, she’s ready for the jump knowing she’ll have the manpower to bring her vision to form.

"I don’t have to do everything on my own," Nicholson said. "At Albany, I was a one-man band and I did four full-time jobs and what I’ve translated to here is that I have a very strong staff to support me."

But this is no ordinary welcoming of a new regime. Spiotti made history by leaving. Nicholson makes history by arriving. The Clayton New Jersey becomes the first black woman to be named AD in the school’s history.

Nicholson: "I always tell people, ‘Lift as you climb and I always try to remind myself that there’s no glass ceiling. There’s only a glass ceiling if I put it there.’"

Jaynes: "It can’t do anything but help improve the good reputation that RIT already has in terms of diversity, inclusion. Jackie coming in solidifies that."

The new AD understands, recognizes the significance of it but to her, "It’s just an opportunity. I think it’s just an opportunity to show what I’m made of, what this institution is made of, and, ultimately what this department can do, as well."

Nicholson is just about three months into the job.