Jill Bodensteiner began her tenure as director of athletics at Saint Joseph’s University on June 1, 2018, joining SJU after an impressive 20-year career at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. She will oversee the Hawks’ 20 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s varsity sports and membership in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Her appointment marked the first time in 30 years that a new athletics director had been chosen at SJU, while she is the first female in the school’s history to hold the post. She succeeds Don DiJulia, who retired at the end of the 2017-18 academic year after serving his 50th year in college athletics and 35th as Saint Joseph’s athletics director.
Bodensteiner’s career at Notre Dame began in 1997 in the Office of the General Counsel, progressed to the athletic department in 2009, and culminated in her most recent role as senior associate athletics director five years ago.
Among her accomplishments, Bodensteiner provided oversight to Notre Dame’s 26 intercollegiate athletics programs, 720 student-athletes and 70 coaches and served as sport administrator for the university’s nationally renowned, and 2018 National Champion women’s basketball program. She brings to Saint Joseph’s strong NCAA leadership experience, having served on the Committee on Women’s Athletics and the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. Working closely with LEAD1, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA, Bodensteiner played a key role in shaping the national debate and final legislation in areas including financial support for student-athletes, time management and academic conduct.
“This marks a new era in Saint Joseph’s University’s Athletics program, and I am proud that our university is continuing to make history in the most ground-breaking and forward-looking ways,” said University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D. “I could not be more enthusiastic about Jill’s appointment and the experience, leadership and vision she brings to the position and to Saint Joseph’s.”
Dr. Reed added: “College athletics grounded in strong Jesuit education is a cornerstone of our history and tradition and a point of passion for thousands of our students, alumni and Hawks fans around the globe. A Notre Dame veteran like Jill understands this ethos and is perfectly suited to build on the highly successful program that Don DiJulia has stewarded.”
At the announcement of her appointment on March 20, 2018, Bodensteiner said, “At an institution like Saint Joseph’s, there needs to be a balance between tradition and innovation. I promise to work hard to preserve the tremendous tradition at St. Joe’s, while always pushing us to think bigger and bolder.”
“We will participate in athletics in a manner consistent with our Jesuit tradition. We will win the right way, by following rules, displaying great sportsmanship, and otherwise making our passionate fans proud to be Hawks,” she continued. “We will demand that our student-athletes are students and that they aren’t simply graduating, but that they are engaging academically, in student life, and in the community.”
Before joining the Notre Dame Office of the General Counsel in 1997, Bodensteiner specialized in employment litigation as an associate at two law firms, Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago and Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis. A member of the bar in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, she also clerked for the Honorable Catherine Perry, a United State District Court judge in St. Louis.
The native of Valparaiso, Indiana, received her bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Notre Dame, her juris doctorate from Washington University Law School in St. Louis, and her MBA from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. She has been an active community service leader, serving as Chair of the Board of the YWCA North Central Indiana and volunteering with several other nonprofit organizations.