Q&A with HNU's New Athletic Director, Phillip Billeci-Gard
Billeci-Gard was interviewed by HNU student-athlete Lyndsey Widner
On July 6, 2021, Phillip Billeci-Gard was named Holy Names University’s new athletic director. He brings a wealth of experience in college athletics and a vision to establish HNU as the premier destination for Division II athletics in the East Bay and beyond.
Billeci-Gard began his coaching career at Dominican University in 2006, where he led the women’s soccer team and later became the head coach for men’s soccer in 2013. In 2015, he was appointed Dominican’s Associate Athletic Director of Internal Operations. Billeci-Gard played collegiate soccer and played professionally for the Northern Nevada Aces. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and an MBA from Dominican University.
You became HNU’s athletic director during a unique and challenging time (COVID-19)—how has the transition been?
Joining the Holy Names community has been tremendous; everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming. They want to collaborate and share ideas, stories, and solutions. There are great people here who really love the University. It’s been a blessing.
There’s a healthy sense of optimism coming out of the COVID pandemic in HNU Athletics. We have new head coaches on board that will help refresh some programs. I believe change is good, and that we’re coming into a new era, where we can all start with a clean slate.
I love that Holy Names is such a diverse campus and that there is a sense of community on campus. Community is where everyone wants the same outcome and everyone is fighting for the same belief, and I find that here at Holy Names.
What are some ways you will support student-athletes?
My number one belief as an athletic director is that I need to see things through the lens of our student-athletes. I want to provide our student-athletes with the best possible experience, whether that experience is through academics, athletics, travel, campus involvement, or community service. I want to support their growth and development through mentorships and coaching. My job is to surround the student-athletes with people who want to help them be successful and help them improve. It is a holistic approach; we want students to graduate as individuals who are ready to succeed outside of the athletics arena.
What have you learned from your own experience as a coach and a student-athlete?
One thing you’ll find in athletics is that the collective whole is better than the individual. It’s a team sport on every level, and the team should always be going in the same direction. As an athlete, I’ve learned the value of hitting the reset button, re-educating, and going back out there to try again another day.
I’m an inner competitor, and when we get to game time I love to compete. I think a sense of competition is healthy and I think it really brings out the best in people and shows true character.
What are your hopes for the upcoming year and beyond?
I hope to further develop a sense of pride and togetherness on campus, where the campus is united as one, where we are all proud to be members of Holy Names and proud to be Hawks through and through. I want our student-athletes to be involved across the campus community and want the campus community to show up to our sporting events on and off campus.
My aim is to have HNU Athletics become a vibrant hub and destination on campus. Students, staff, and faculty will want to be in and around Tobin Gym and support the Hawks in action because there is a sense of pride and contagious energy. Ultimately, I envision Athletics becoming a main artery for the campus. My hope is that athletics is interwoven in the campus community and students, staff, and faculty alike will get to know our staff and enjoy the collaborative relationships.