BIDDEFORD — University of New England Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jack McDonald announced the promotion of Joan Howard to associate director of athletics in a press release Thursday.

Howard has been involved with UNE Athletics since 2000, starting as an assistant coach and then serving as head coach for two different sports before moving over into administration in 2009. After leaving the coaching ranks, she became the assistant director of athletics for business/compliance, and has since served as the senior woman administrator.

“Joan is more than deserving of this promotion, as in my short time at the University of New England I have seen her enthusiastic and professional contributions to our student-athletes, staff and the UNE community,” McDonald said in the release. “I am looking forward to working with Joan as we continue to enhance the student athlete experience and elevate our athletics and recreation programs.”

Howard led the field hockey squad to 28 wins over three years from 2007-09. The 2009 season was the program’s most successful campaign to that date, with a 16-3 mark and the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England Championship title. She was selected as the Commonwealth Coast Conference Coach of the Year that same season. Before that, Howard led the softball team to a 65 victories in four seasons, from 2004-07, including a 24-14 record in 2007 and the CCC Coach of the Year honor in 2005. Howard spent the preceding four years as the assistant coach of the program.

Howard is also a member of the NCAA Division III Softball Committee, representing the New England region on the national level for a four-year term that will conclude after the 2016 season.

“Athletics has been a part of my life since I can remember, and I have been fortunate to spend the past 15 years here at UNE in a profession that I’m so passionate about and brings me such joy,” Howard said in the release. “The athletics staff, the student-athletes and the location make UNE a very unique and special place to work, and I would like to thank the administration for recognizing my contributions with this promotion.”

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