PITTSBURGH – After 37 years of service at Carlow University, the last 22 of which were spent as athletic director, George Sliman has announced that he will retire on June 30, 2021. Sliman’s leadership helped Carlow’s athletic programs blossom from just five women’s sports and 65 student-athletes to 14 men’s and women’s sports and 200 student-athletes.
“For almost four decades, George has been an invaluable asset to Carlow University,” said Carlow University President Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD. “He has been instrumental in helping to expand athletics at Carlow, greatly enhancing our student experience. George will be sincerely missed, but the University wishes him well in his well-deserved retirement.”
Originally hired in August 1984 as the part-time assistant women’s volleyball coach, Sliman guided the team to a 1987 NAIA national tournament appearance, the first in Carlow’s history. He would later accept the part-time head coaching position in August 1988. Before he was appointed as director of athletics in June 1999, Sliman worked at the urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh on high-profile developments including Heinz Field, PNC Park and the PPG Headquarters in Market Square.
During his time as director, Sliman established the Walk of Fame in 2003, one of the Department’s most long-standing traditions. Of particular importance to Carlow and our small campus, Sliman spearheaded efforts to secure multiyear facility agreements for the Celtics, most notably Highmark Stadium for soccer, Oakland Catholic High School for basketball, and Alpha Tennis & Fitness. Carlow even hosted the RSC Cross Country Championship at Schenley Park in 2019.
While Sliman’s accomplishments and accolades are numerous, his legacy at Carlow is also on his mind. “I’d like to be remembered as someone who tried to be helpful and find solutions both for student-athletes and when working within other areas of the University,” said Sliman. “I’ve tried to improve the student-athlete experience and help students progress toward graduation while playing a sport they loved.”
Sports added under Sliman’s tenure include men’s and women’s cross country, men’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track & field, and most recently, men’s volleyball. He also took charge in making Carlow Athletics more of a competitive draw for potential students, adding the sports communications manager/recruiting coordinator position to the athletics staff in 2015.
The way in wish Sliman elevated the role of athletic director not only brought him closer to the Carlow community, but also that of other small university athletics programs. “I am going to miss working with other ADs,” said Sliman. “The small college environment requires a unique skill set and I have learned from all of them.”
His collaboration with other universities to better Carlow athletics has paid off too. For the 2011-12 season, Sliman was named as the NAIA Northeast Region Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Sliman also garnered recognition at the University in 2019 when he was presented with a 35-year award for service and in 2012-13 for his leadership when Carlow joined the River States Conference, formerly the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
As for what he will miss most about Carlow? “Of course the students, but also working with the amazing staff and faculty at Carlow,” he said. “Their dedication to the University mission and values makes it work.”