Shawn Tucker to Lead NJCU Athletics

Shawn Tucker has joined the NJCU Athletics team as the new Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics at NJCU. He is just the fifth athletics director at the institution since 1934. Joining an elite club as one of the youngest athletic directors in NCAA Division III, Shawn is the first African-American athletic director in NJCU history, the seventh ever in New Jersey Athletic Conference history, and the only current minority in the league to hold the position. He is also first athletic director to serve in the expanded role of associate vice president at NJCU. He succeeds Alice De Fazio, who retired on March 1 after 11 years in the position.

Tucker, a former standout as wide receiver on the Rutgers football team, came to NJCU in May with nearly 15 years of higher education, intercollegiate athletics, managerial, and leadership experience.

At Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, he had executive oversight over the Rutgers Leadership Academy (RLA), the RLA Advisory Board, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Rutgers Athletics Internship Program, and R Care.

Tucker’s work in athletic development with the R Fund over the last two
years culminated with the team securing the largest gift in Rutgers Athletics history—a $15 million pledge to construct the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Center for Academic Success.

Track Is Back!

NJCU has announced that its men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field program, apparently competing on the club level, will be elevated to varsity status, effective with the fall 2018 semester. Under the direction of new head coach Pa O’Neill, who joined the University in January, the program will compete as a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), beginning with the indoor season which will start in December. The elevation of track and feld will bring NJCU’s sports offerings to 16. It represents the frst new varsity sport added since men’s golf in 2010.

Sam’s Story

From the opening tip in November, it was clear that New Jersey City University power forward Sam Toney was going to follow a breakout rookie campaign with a special sophomore season. After emerging as one of the top players in NCAA Division III men’s basketball this season, Toney received every award imaginable from coaches and media organizations throughout the country.

His leadership was clear before the season began when head coach Marc Brown named Toney a team captain—the first sophomore to be a co-captain for NJCU since the 1977-78 season.

Academically, despite being out of school since graduating high school in 2010, he excelled in the classroom as a sophomore, earning a 3.2 GPA for the 2017-18 academic year.

But to become a dominant player on the court, Toney had to overcome some incredible odds and obstacles in what can truly be defined as a Cinderella story, navigating through more than 50 foster homes and periods of homelessness.

Sam’s Accolades:

  • New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year
  • Only the third sophomore named NJAC Player of the Year in NJAC history
  • First player to be NJAC Rookie of the Year and NJAC Player of the Year in consecutive seasons in NJAC history.
  • NABC Third-Team All-America
  • Fourth Team All-America
  • D3News Fifth-Team All-America
  • NABC First-Team All-Atlantic District
  • First-Team All-ECAC Division III (all regions)
  • First-Team D3hoops All Atlantic Region
  • Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Division III co-Player of the Year
  • 2017-18 Small College Basketball Bevo Francis Top 50 Watchlist
  • Team captain—the frst sophomore to be a co-captain for NJCU since the 1977-78 season
  • 3-time NJAC Player of the Week
  • 3-time Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Division II-III Player of the Week
  • 2-time Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Metro Player of the Week
  • Selected to the MBWA Honor Roll 5 times
  • National Team of the Week on December 4
  • Most Valuable Player of the Rose City Classic in November
  • Scored 25 or more seven times
  • Scored 20 or more 14 times in 27 games
  • Produced 12 double-doubles

Men’s Basketball Still at Home on National Stage

The NJCU men’s basketball team enjoyed another successful campaign in 2017-18, culminating with its second consecutive appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Tournament.

NJCU qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 20th time in school history and the 18th time as a Division III program. Men’s basketball set a school record by opening the season with a 9-0 record—its best start to a season in the 85-year history of the program.

NJCU Baseball Enjoys Winningest Season Ever

Behind seventh-year head coach Jerry Smith, the NJCU baseball program continued to progress to build a tradition of sustained excellence. This year, that progression culminated in the Gothic Knights breaking a 32-year-old school record for victories.

NJCU won a record 21 games in the spring, finishing 21-18 overall and postseason eligible for the second straight season. With an 11-9 win over Ursinus on May 1, NJCU broke the single-season record of 19 victories set in 1986 and matched in 1995 and 2005.

NJCU student-athletes and staff participated in the JC Kids Run and Fitness Fair—an event that brought out 400 families for a day of funand competition.

NJCU Introduces New Coaches

Women’s Basketball, Cross Country/Track and Field and Men’s Golf

NJCU has added three leaders tohead its athletic programs withthe introductions of new headbasketball, men’s golf and men’s and women’s cross country and track & field.

Pat Devaney `12 has been appointed headwomen’s basketball coach, Patrick O’Neillis newly at the helm of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field and Joe Yeck was named head men’s golf coach.

DID YOU KNOW? From Crows to Gothics to Gothic Knights

Do you know the history of the institution’s nicknames?

Since the inception of athletics in 1932 when men’s basketball,the first varsity sport offered, played its home games on the stage at the Margaret Williams Theater, New Jersey State Normal School at Jersey City and, later, New Jersey State Teachers College at Jersey City, competed under the moniker of the Crows.

That changed in 1954 when ‘The Gothics’ were born—a nickname that arose from the personality of the school’s architectural style of Hepburn Hall, the college’s first and most well-known building.

In 1985, the evolution of the nickname continued as The Gothics became The Gothic Knights. The timing could not have been better as in 1985-86, the men’s basketball team reached the NCAA Division III Final Four for the first time.

Your Gift Makes a Difference


From its earliest days, the mission of New Jersey City University has been to provide an excellent education for a diverse student population. That mission holds true today, thanks in large part to the University’s loyal alumni and friends, whose support of the NJCU Fund has helped make a difference in the lives of countless students. Those students who have been helped by support from alumni and friends realize the importance of giving back so that generations that follow can experience the same opportunities for success in the classroom and beyond.

Why Give?

The NJCU Fund supports students by providing scholarships, experiential learning opportunities, emergency financial assistance, leadership development and more. Your gift is an investment in the minds of today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.

Make Your Gift Today

Giving to NJCU is easy! You may make your gift online at or call 201-200-3344.

Checks can be made payable to NJCU Foundation, Inc. and sent to New Jersey City University Foundation, Hepburn Hall, Room 315, 2039 Kennedy Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305-1597.

Your gift in any amount makes a difference in the lives of our students.


To watch the Shawn Tucker press conference:

to watch the NJCU track and feld reintroduction video:

To watch Sam Toney’s incredible story:

To read a national feature on Sam: From Homeless to Hoops Stardom—the Inspiring Story of Sam Toney: