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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 after graduation.

“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.



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