Inside Bulldog Athletics
Inside Bulldog Athletics
Now in its 82nd year of operation, the University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Intercollegiate Athletics continues to maintain one of the most competitive and well-balanced programs of its size in the country.
Fourteen of UMD’s 16 teams — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s soccer, softball, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball — are members of the NCAA Division II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The UMD men’s and women’s ice hockey programs, meanwhile, are aligned with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, a NCAA Division I circuit. This year marks the Bulldog men’s last go-around in the WCHA after a 47-season run as they will join the new eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14.
A pair of senior megastars -- Jack Connolly and Lexi Williams -- highlighted a prosperous 2011-12 UMD athletic season. In April, Connolly, a three-time All-merican capped off the most decorated career in the 68-year history of Bulldog hockey by winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the most outstanding player in the country, while Willams, captured the 800-meter run crown at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships becoming, in the process, the school’s fifth national individual titlelholder in any sport.
Connolly and Williams were among the one dozen Bulldogs to attain All-American status of some kind in their respective sports one year ago. That group included the likes of J.T. Brown (hockey), Cody Eich (football), Cory Flesch (football), Garth Heikkinen (football), Rob Huberty (football) Eleena Iisakka (volleyball) Tyra Kerr (softball), Kate Lange (volleyball), David Nadeau (football), and Derrick Zappa (football). In addition, the 2011-12 season marked the end of the line collegiately for Morgan Place, who, since her arrival on the UMD campus in 2008, Place secured All-American recognition a school-record eight times (three in cross country, four in indoor track and one in outdoor track) while qualifying for 11 of a possible 12 NCAA Division II national meets.
Nationally speaking, the Bulldogs placed 45th in the 2011-12 NCAA II Learfield Directors’ Cup all-sports standings. UMD racked up 331 points, a mark bettered by only three other NSIC colleagues, as points were awarded based on each institution’s national finish in up to 14 sports. Three years ago, UMD wound up 18th (an all-time high) in that same competition and was 27th in 2010-11. The Bulldogs qualified for 2011-12 NCAA post-season competition in women’s basketball, women’s cross country, men’s hockey, (where it advanced to the national quarterfinals after winning it all the previous year), softball, women’s outdoor track, and volleyball (for a program-best 10th straight year).
The man in charge of supervising Bulldog sports is Josh Berlo, who officially assumed UMD’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics position on April 3, 2013, after spending the the previous 12 years at the University of Notre Dame working in various athletic department capactities.
Josh Berlo most recently served as senior assistant athletics director for guest relations and event marketing. In this role, he oversaw all aspects of athletic ticketing, event marketing and promotional efforts, football game-day parking operations, the Drive with the Irish courtesy vehicle program, and he represents Notre Dame on the Executive Committee of the Sports Management Institute, a program which he has been involved with since his undergraduate days and completed in 2008. SMI is a seven-month graduate level business program which includes 10 total days (a seven-day summer session and three-day winter session) in a residence program for college athletic administrators.
Berlo also was the sport administrator for the baseball team, working with the baseball head coach from an administrative end on logistical, strategic, facility and fundraising to help the team achieve excellence on and off the field.
A native of Warren, R.I., Berlo spent three years as assistant athletic director, after doing a two-year stint as Director of Ticket Operations for the Notre Dame ticket office. Berlo was the recipient of the 2008 Student Government Irish Clover Award for outstanding service to the students of the Notre Dame community. In 2012 Berlo helped a group of football student-athletes establish the Notre Dame Chapter of Uplifting Athletes and acts as their advisor. Uplifiting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raises them as a national priority through outreach, research, education, and advocacy. Berlo has also served as an editor for undergraduate Sport Administration textbooks.
Berlo came to Notre Dame in 2000 as an athletic department intern, then a graduate assistant, and was accepted in the Mendoza College of Business in 2001 in pursuit of a master's degree in business administration. He was granted the NBC MBA Fellowship and also won the Arthur W. Page Society Grand Prize for its corporate communicates case-writing contest. Berlo received his MBA from Notre Dame with a concentration in finance and communications in 2004.
Prior to his arrival at Notre Dame, Berlo attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. During his time there he worked in the Athletic Ticket Office and assisted with event management and game operations. In addition, he conducted research and special projects for the UMass Faculty Athletic Representative, including preparations for Major League Baseball arbitration cases. Berlo received his bachelor's degree in sport management with a minor in economics in 1999. Prior to his time at UMass, Berlo worked in the pro shop at Rhode Island Country Club from 1992-99.
A 1996 graduate of Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., Berlo earned the Rhode Island Golf Association's John P. Burke Memorial Scholarship. He and his wife, Meg, will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary this August.