Assistant Director of Club Sports Mentors Students
By Kristine King
April 16, 2008
Photo- Christina VanHorn, Human Resources
While varsity sports get most of the play of excitement on campus, club sports
serve more than 800 students. At the head of it all is Denise Monahan, assistant
director for club sports, and with more than two decades at UNH, Monahan has
scored big for student athletes.
During the past 20 years, Monahan has held several positions and has overseen
many sides of the recreation center. She has been the administrative assistant
for the department of recreational sports and assistant director for intramural
sports. Her many changing positions have now found her as assistant director,
where she has been since 1991.
After living in Texas and California for a short time, Monahan and her husband
relocated to New Hampshire in 1986. She obtained her undergraduate degree in
recreation from Montclair State College in New Jersey and began pedaling her
resume to various communities and commercial recreation programs. While driving
through Durham, nostalgia of working for the recreation program at her alma
mater made her stop by Campus Recreation.
“I located the UNH recreational sports office and introduced myself
with resume in-hand to Mike O’Neil, the director of recreational sports.
He referred me to the associate director, Lynn Heyliger, who was responsible
for hiring; and the rest, as they say, is history,” Monahan says.
She enjoys serving as a mentor to so many students and continuing friendships
“The interactions with students are ever-changing and very rewarding.
It keeps me young,” said Monahan.
Monahan was not without her coaches along the way to her current position.
Heyliger, who hired her at an entry level position of programming secretary,
gave her the chance to go for something more.
“By far, Lynn Heyliger has been the most influential in my career,” said
Monahan. “She provided me with valuable professional guidance when I
seriously considered leaving the campus recreation field and groomed me into
the professional I am today.”
Her current position requires organizational and communication skills. She
also manages policy and development for the clubs, and oversight of a $750,000
annual budget. Of all her tasks, Monahan says that her connection with students
is what she finds most rewarding.
As her interest in sports and exercise suggests, Monahan is very involved
with her own personal fitness. Before coming to UNH, she spent time designing
fitness programs for Holiday Health Spa in Philadelphia. There she provided
fitness programs for patrons tailored to individual interests and goals. She
also taught aerobics classes twice a day.
During the past two years, Monahan has developed a passion for cooking. She
also has time to dedicate to traveling.
“Most importantly, I value spending time with my husband, Robbie, and
our two golden retrievers, Penny and Maggie,” she says.