MORAGA, Calif. — Saint Mary’s College Director of Athletics Mark Orr announced today that he has accepted the same position at Sacramento State, as the Hornets held a press conference to announce the hire this morning.
Orr concludes an accomplished 16-year run at Saint Mary’s, including the past 11 as Director of Athletics and Recreation.
Under Orr's leadership, Saint Mary’s teams qualified for the NCAA postseason 17 times, including the men's basketball team advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2010, men’s soccer advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2011, and the men's golf team's qualification to the NCAA Championships in 2008 and 2013. Seven programs won conference titles during Orr's tenure and the College annually ranks among the leaders in the West Coast Conference Commissioner’s Cup, including a second-place finish a year ago.
“I’m thankful for my time at Saint Mary’s College, it’s a very special place with very special people,” Orr said. “Ultimately I feel like I’ve left the College in a better place than when I started, and that’s always the goal. Saint Mary’s is in a good place and will continue to grow under the current leadership.”
Saint Mary’s has become one of the top men’s basketball programs in the West over the last 10 years, earning five NCAA Tournament and five NIT appearances. The Gaels have the highest winning percentage and third-most NCAA Tournament appearances in the state of California in the last decade. The team has won or shared three of the last six WCC titles and recently advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
The baseball team earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 2016 after winning the WCC Tournament. The team went on to have three players selected in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Other intercollegiate athletics teams to win conference titles during Orr’s watch include men’s soccer, men’s golf, volleyball, softball and women’s tennis.
Orr also oversaw the College’s club sports program, with the men’s rugby team earning national recognition as the 2016 USA Rugby D1A 7’s National Champions and 2015 and 2014 D1A Rugby National Champions.
Saint Mary’s recorded a 93 percent Graduation Success Rate in 2015-16, the second highest among all institutions in California. The College had 45 student-athletes earn West Coast Conference all-academic honors a year ago.
Volleyball posted a perfect 1000 APR score the last four years and has earned NCAA recognition each season for ranking among the top 10 percent of its sport. Since the program began, the Gaels’ women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s cross country, men’s and women’s track and field and volleyball programs have each been honored by the NCAA.
Saint Mary’s President Jim Donahue announced that a search to replace Orr will begin immediately.
“Mark did a remarkable job as the head of our Athletics department. However, his decision to accept the position at Sacramento State is understandable. Sacramento is his hometown, and he has a deep appreciation for it,” Donahue said. “Although, he soon may be wearing the green and gold colors of the Hornets, we all know there will always be a special place in his heart for the red and blue of the Saint Mary’s Gaels.”
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