Alison Cone, Cal Poly’s director of athletics since 2004, announced today that she will retire in December after 16 years at Cal Poly.
“This is the right time in our execution of our strategic plan for me to move on,” Cone said in a release. “We have reached a stable position within the NCAA at the Division-I level; we have great coaches in place, and they have the right focus on developing our student-athletes for success on the field, in the classroom and in their professional lives.”
Cone, 57, came to Cal Poly in 1994 as senior associate director of athletics. Under Cone’s tenure, 234 student-athletes earned all-conference academic honors; Cal Poly’s teams captured 17 different conference titles, and 13 teams and 87 individuals advanced to NCAA postseason tournaments or competitions. Not to mention, 300 Cal Poly student-athletes were named to all-conference teams, 40 reached All-American status and 23 teams reached a top-25 national ranking.
“Alison has served Cal Poly exceptionally well,” Interim President Robbert Glidden said in a release. “Everyone who knows Alison knows how hard she works on behalf of our students … although we all wish she would stay a few more years, she is leaving the department in such good shape that we know we will have a deep and talented pool of candidates vying to succeed her.”
Glidden said a national search will be conducted over the next few months and timed so the next Cal Poly president, expected to be named by year’s end, can select Cone’s successor.
With Cone in the driver’s seat for athletics, Cal Poly fielded increasingly competitive teams, steadily increased attendance at ticketed events and resolved Cal Poly’s longstanding problem of finding an appropriate conference for football when it was the team would join the Big Sky Conference.
Cal Poly athletics, as a whole, took a big step forward under Cone. In 2007, a $20 million renovation of the west side of Alex G. Spanos Stadium as completed and a state-of-the-art scoreboard was installed in 2009. Both have enhanced game-day experiences for football and soccer events.
“I’m proud of our students’ success on the field,” Cone said, “but what has mattered more to me is to make sure our coaches were focused on developing the character of our student-athletes as young men and women of great integrity. That’s what Cal Poly Athletics stands for, and that’s what I’ve always tried to keep as our main goal …. We have a bright future and I plan to have some fun along with other Mustangs across the state as we celebrate and support our teams.”