Tom is a 40-year veteran of college athletics having worked as a coach, administrator and NCAA committee leader. He is widely regarded as an innovative, conscientious and visionary administrator whose bold leadership has advanced four Division I institutions – George Mason University, Loyola University in Maryland Santa Clara University, and St. Bonaventure University.
Tom retired in from George Mason in 2014 following 20 years of combined service as athletic director and assistant vice president. His major priority during his tenure was to facilitate the university’s commitment to its student-athletes, both academically and athletically.
Under his leadership, George Mason was one of 10 schools nationally to earn the 2008 Diversity in Athletics Award for excellence in graduation rates for male African-American student–athletes, which is presented annually by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University and the NCAA. He also helped the university become the one of the first 15 schools to complete the NCAA certification process and spearheaded efforts to gain full compliance with Title IX. These efforts led to George Mason perennial ranking among the nation’s best in the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act survey.
As AD, Tom had a front-row seat to the George Mason men’s basketball team best season in school history during 2005-2006, which translated into a first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four and the first appearance by any team from the Colonial Athletic Association.
Prior to George Mason, Tom worked as athletic director at Loyola University in Maryland; Santa Clara University and St. Bonaventure University. He became the head basketball coach at Dartmouth College when he was 25 years old – placing him among youngest head coach to ever take over a NCAA Division I program and also served as the head basketball coach at Loyola University.
Among his numerous contributions at the NCAA level, O’Connor served a five-year term on the 10-member NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Committee, serving chair from 2007 to 2008.
A native of Union City, New Jersey, O’Connor earned a bachelor’s degree in 1968 from Assumption (Mass) College, where he was a four-year basketball letter winner. He is a member of the Assumption College Athletic Hall of Fame. He has received numerous industry awards including the 2010 Gary Cunningham Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association.
Tom and his wife, Barbara, have four children and 10 grandchildren.