Sonoma State Athletic Director Bill Fusco retires after 20 years

After 20 years of service as the athletic director for Sonoma State University, Bill Fusco has announced his retirement from the program.

He began his journey in 1997 and has done a reputable job leading the Seawolves’ student-athletes to success, aiding in both the growth and reputation of the program.

Under Fusco’s leadership, the athletic program has expanded from 11 to 14 intercollegiate teams within the Pacific West Conferences, California Collegiate Athletic Association, and Western Water Polo Association. Fusco oversaw the program during the wins of the NCAA Division II national championships in men’s soccer in 2002 and men’s golf in 2009.

“One of the many special memories over the past 20 years was being part of the 2002 men’s soccer team’s post-season run to the NCAA Division II National Championship,” Fusco said. In the NCAA First Round match vs. rival Cal State Dominguez Hills, SSU was down 2-0 at halftime, until “Senior forward Tony Bussard went out and scored two goals to send the game into overtime. He then scored his third goal in overtime to give the Seawolves a miraculous come from behind victory. The momentum from that game carried the team to their first ever national championship.” 

This comeback and Fusco’s vivid memory of it show his passion and involvement in Sonoma State athletics. 

Among his achievements, he ushered the birth of athletic scholarships at Sonoma State, allowing athletes to play the sport they love while receiving a college education. Under his leadership, student-athlete graduation rates and grade point averages have significantly increased, nearing top-tier rates in the league.  

Before he became athletic director at Sonoma State, Fusco received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of San Francisco in 1973. He continued his education as he earned his Masters of Arts degree in sports management later from the University of San Francisco in 1995. Before Sonoma State hired Fusco on, he already had over 15 years of athletic administrative experience under his belt. Fusco held a similar position as the director of athletics at both the University of San Francisco, his alma mater, and Dominican University. He also served as the sports information director for St. Mary’s College and the University of San Francisco.

Fusco was an outstanding faculty member in the University of San Francisco Graduate Sports Management Program, teaching an elective class titled administrative leadership in intercollegiate athletics. 

While he was working as the director of athletics at Dominican, he was awarded NAIA West Region Administrator of the Year for two years in a row in both 1995 and 1996. 

Over the years, Bill has remained highly involved in the community as he became a member of the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati as well as serving as an advisor to the Rotaract Club of Sonoma State. His involvement in endless activities is another one of the many achievements in his career. 

Fusco and his wife, Cathy, are currently residents of Petaluma. He has two children, both of whom attended California state schools; their son Michael graduated from Long Beach State University and their daughter Marissa graduated from Sonoma State University.

With all that Fusco has given to the intercollegiate athletic program, it will be hard for Sonoma State to see him go. “I can’t even begin to express the amount of gratitude I have for Bill and everything he has done for me during my time here at Sonoma State,” said Tyler Lobe, sports information, game operations and athletic facilities coordinator. “He is one of the most genuine, kind-hearted human beings anyone has ever met. This is going to be a huge loss for our program.” 

“I will miss working with the dedicated, passionate and talented student-athletes, coaches and administrative support staff members,” Fusco said. “It was a privilege to serve them and an honor to represent Sonoma State University on a local, regional, and national level for over 20 years.”