Mountain West bestows rare honor on Ruggiero - Albuquerque Journal

Mountain West bestows rare honor on Ruggiero

Janice Ruggiero, recently retired Deputy Athletic Director for Internal Affairs at the University of New Mexico, has been named as a recipient of the Mountain West’s Dr. Albert C. Yates Distinguished Service Award.

Janice Ruggiero

Along with Ruggiero, late longtime athletic communications leader Lawrence Fan of San Jose State also was named as a winner of the award.

They become the 13th and 14th winners in the league’s 23-year history.

The award goes to an individual who “has served, supported and promoted the goals and ideals of the Mountain West or a member institution; an individual who, through personal effort and dedication, has enhanced the ability of the conference and/or its member institutions to provide a positive experience for the student-athletes enrolled at any member institution,” the league said in a statement.

Ruggiero is the fourth UNM administrator to earn the honor, following Breda Bova in 2013-14, Rudy Davalos in 2005-06, and Linda Estes, the first winner in 1999-2000.

Ruggiero retired in January after a 32-year career as an administrator at UNM, and that followed a three-year career on the Lobo women’s basketball team.

In 2017, she served as the interim AD after Paul Krebs left the department in turmoil — he eventually was charged on seven felony counts in connection with a golf trip to Scotland in 2015 that was paid for, in part, with university funds — and before the hiring of current AD Eddie Nuñez later that year.

“From her time as a student-athlete to her time in administration, Janice’s love for her home has always shown in her passion towards everything she has done,” Nuñez said in a statement from UNM. “In her 30-plus years at UNM Athletics one thing that has remained as her guiding light, and it’s her dedication is her true commitment to the student-athletes.”

In 2015 College AD named Ruggiero, who played basketball at Eldorado before she played at UNM, one of the Top 10 Senior Woman Administrators in college athletics.

“I love (UNM) and my home state of New Mexico, and I am forever grateful for the people I’ve met along the way. I am proud to be a Lobo for Life,” said Ruggiero, per UNM.

Since her retirement from Athletics, Ruggiero moved over to the UNM Foundation.

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