NORTHRIDGE — California State University, Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison announced Monday the hiring of Michael Izzi as the new athletic director of the Matadors’ 19-team intercollegiate program.
Izzi, a veteran athletics leader who has more than 20 years of experience in NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics and sports administration, most recently served as the Director of Athletics at UC Irvine, where he oversaw the Anteaters’ 18-sport intercollegiate athletics program.
When Izzi, 58, assumes his new position at the end of July, he will be responsible for CSUN’s NCAA Division I athletic program that includes more than 350 student-athletes on eight men’s and 11 women’s teams.
“CSUN athletics is a powerful vehicle for engagement — with our students, with our more than 350,000 alumni and with our community,” Harrison said. “I warmly welcome Michael to CSUN and eagerly anticipate his leadership for our athletic programs. He has a proven track record of building a culture where student-athletes realize their full potential in the classroom and in competition.”
During the 2017-2018 academic and athletics year, there were several notable achievements among CSUN’s sports teams, including the Jason Flowers-led women’s basketball team, which won the Big West Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five years.
In men’s soccer, the Matadors tied for the Big West South Division Championship while the women’s soccer team advanced to the Big West Championship match for the second time in program history.
The CSUN’s men’s volleyball and women’s water polo teams were both nationally ranked at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
Izzi said he is excited to join the CSUN community.
“There is a great deal of momentum across Matador athletics,” he said. “With the strong vision of President Harrison and the support of the entire Matador community, we will be competing for league titles year in and year out. I thank UC Irvine for the past decade and look forward to being a Matador and creating a legacy of success at CSUN.”
Since Izzi’s arrival at UC Irvine, UCI has earned a top-five finish in NACDA’s Division I-AAA Directors’ Cup Standings eight of the last 12 years. Forty-four Anteater teams have finished in the nation’s Top 25 final rankings in his tenure, which began in December 2007, and a total of 79 UCI teams have had representation in the NCAA postseason.
Under Izzi’s leadership, UCI Athletics has seen a dramatic increase in the department’s fundraising efforts, raising funds for two new buildings, the Santora Elite Training Center and Al Irwin Academic Center, to enhance the student-athlete experience — a focus throughout Izzi’s time at UCI.
Izzi is a member of the Big West Conference Council, in addition to the Championships Committee and an Athletics Administrator Liaison. He also is a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Administrative Committee and serves as a voting member of the Lott Trophy, an award given to college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year.
He was appointed to the Sports Management Institute Executive Committee in January of 2010.
Prior to his arrival at UC Irvine, Izzi served 16 years in athletics administration at Stanford University. He was the primary supervisor for several sports and led one of the most successful athletic fundraising efforts in college sports.
He implemented fundraising strategies that led to more than $30 million in renovations to Maples Pavilion, more than $100 million in renovations to Stanford Stadium, $70 million in scholarships endowments, and the endowment of several staff positions.
A former student-athlete at UCLA, Izzi received his bachelor’s in sociology from UCLA in 1984. He and his wife, Heidi Starnes, have three sons, Weston, Conrad and Jagger, and two daughters, McKenna and Payton.
Izzi was selected for the position following a nationwide search. Kevin Anderson has been serving as CSUN’s Interim Athletic Director since the beginning of May.
Harrison thanked Anderson for his leadership during the interim, saying he has provided a “steady hand for the department while it was in transition.”