“Fran Reidy has done everything faithful to Saint Leo University’s mission, values and vision. He has been a leader and example for all of us and contributed to the University progress in so many ways, way beyond athletics. Typical of that, he was among the first class of Leadership Saint Leo and served as chair of the search committee for our new Director of University Ministry. In every way, Fran has contributed to Saint Leo University’s resurgence.”
Dr. Arthur F. Kirk Jr., President, Saint Leo University
It started over two decades ago when Francis X. Reidy first walked into the tiny Saint Leo Department of Athletics as a part-time men’s soccer coach. What has transpired since that August day in 1988 is an inspiring story of untold successes and a spot in the Saint Leo University Hall of Fame.
He became a full time member of the department in 1993. Along the way, he has served as Sports Information Director, Compliance Officer, Assistant Athletic Director, and Associate Athletic Director until reaching his current role as Director of Athletics in 1999.
That year, he inherited a Monarch athletic program that had four NCAA post season appearances in 35 years and managed to breathe a new fire into the department. He hand-picked the numerous coaches that eventually took the rebranded ‘Lions’ to 25 postseason trips during his tenure. In his swan song as a head coach, he helped recruit, prepare, and oversee the school’s first ever Sunshine State Conference Championship in 2005, an elusive title nearly 30 years in the making.
That championship capped a stellar coaching career for Reidy, who ultimately served as head coach for 16 years, stepping down after the 2003 season. His overall record was 140-134-16, which currently stands third in the SSC all-time in wins. Twice, honored by the Sunshine State Conference as Coach-of-the-Year, he holds the school record for most wins in men’s soccer history.
As a head coach he produced five All-Americans, 14 All-Region and 39 All-Conference players. He also has overseen the development of an SSC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, an SSC Male Athlete of the Year, and three of his former student-athletes were named to the Conference Silver Anniversary 23-man soccer team in 2003. He has also seen two of his former players inducted into the SSC Hall of Fame.
Inducted into the Saint Leo Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008, Reidy also oversaw the addition of 11 of the school’s 19 intercollegiate sports. During his tenure, the President’s Club was formed to recognize student-athletes’ academic achievement and graduation rates have increased. Student-athletes' GPA in 2008-09 was over 3.00 for the first time in department history and, in the last semester, 15 teams were above the 3.00 mark with a overall GPA of 3.19 for all Saint Leo student-athletes. Athletes are more involved in University leadership and service since he became director.
Through his leadership, he has overseen significant improvements to every athletic venue on Saint Leo’s expansive campus, including new stadium and arena lighting as well as the design and creation of a new fitness center and athletic training area. He also oversaw the design and completion of the SLU Tennis Center in 2006, marking the first new and modern athletic facility at Saint Leo in over 30 years. Under his guidance and with an ever-growing department, the Lions have added to their state-of-the-art athletic complex in recent years with the University Softball Stadium (Feb. 2011), University Soccer Field (Nov. 2011), and the University Turf Stadium (Fall 2012).
In 2014-15, Reidy was recognized by his peers as one of four Under Armour Division II Athletics Director of the Year honorees. This was the second time Reidy was honored, as he was named the Under Armour Division II Southeast Region Athletics Director of the Year in 2011-12.
Besides handling day-to-day aspects of the department, and its 40-plus staff members, Reidy was the president of the Division II Athletic Directors Association in 2015-16 and previously served as Chair of the NCAA Division II Championships Committee in 2014-15. He is also on the board of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.
Reidy, who implemented NCAA software programs into the compliance program, completed Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act and computerized the Athletic Department at Saint Leo. He also served on the Division II men’s Regional Soccer Committee (1998-99), the National Men’s Soccer Committee (1999-2002) and was a member of the men’s soccer national ranking committee (1999-2000).
Reidy, a Massachusetts native, graduated from Fitchburg State College (MA) in 1982 with a double major of Special Education and Elementary Education. While in college, he lettered all four years in soccer, was team captain and an All-Conference selection. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Saint Leo in 2002.
Prior to joining Saint Leo, Reidy was a teacher and a coach at Vivian Gaither High School in Tampa, Fla. He taught students with special needs for 10 years and coached the boys’ soccer team for six years (1984-90), winning three district titles, two regional crowns, one sectional title and one state runner-up.
Reidy is married to the former Debora Lasek, a teacher in the Pasco County school system, of Ware, Mass. The couple has one son, Evan, and one daughter, Victoria. The Reidy family resides in Wesley Chapel, Fla.