Joan Cronan, University of Tennessee Women's Athletic Director Emeritus, to deliver keynote at December diploma ceremony


Pioneer. Passion. Driving force. Leadership. These are just a few words used to describe Joan Cronan, the LSU College of Human Sciences and Education’s keynote speaker for its diploma ceremony on Friday, December 19, 2014. Cronan is the Women’s Athletics Director Emeritus, Advisor to the Chancellor at the University of Tennessee, and a member of the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction.

“The College of Human Sciences & Education is excited to welcome Cronan back to Baton Rouge as our graduation keynote speaker,” Associate Dean for Programs and Services Jennifer Curry said. “Cronan has led an extraordinary career and life; she is uniquely qualified to encourage personal success within every member of our audience. Her leadership skills, coupled with a competitive drive, promise to provide a special address to help us honor our graduates.”

Cronan was the University of Tennessee’s women's athletic director for 29 seasons, from 1983-84 to 2011-12, building one of the nation's most respected women's athletics programs.

A graduate of LSU, Cronan earned her B.S. in 1966 and her M.S. in 1968, both in physical education. She then went on to coach at Tennessee, leading the women’s basketball team to the first-ever National Invitational Collegiate Basketball Tournament.

Cronan also served for ten years as the Athletics Director at the College of Charleston, and under her leadership, the school was selected the number one women’s athletic program in the country by the American Women’s Sports Foundation. While at Charleston, she continued her success, not only as a basketball coach but in tennis as well. In 1981, she gave up coaching to devote her full-time attention to her duties as teacher and athletics director.

Cronan was a fall 1995 inductee into LSU's Alumni Hall of Distinction.

In 1998, Cronan’s work earned her accord from the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, as she was named its Administrator of the Year. At its 2013 Tribute To Women, the YWCA of Knoxville bestowed her with Lifetime Achievement Honors. In 2014, the YWCA voted her among its Top 30 Women in the Past 30 Years.

In February of 2014, the U.S. Sports Academy named her to its board of trustees.  She will serve as chair of Leadership Knoxville in 2015, and is a member of Tennessee Leadership as well.