Joanne Renn’s legacy of success at Virginia Wesleyan


VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – After 25 years at Virginia Wesleyan University,  Joanne Renn is moving on.

She served as director of athletics for the past 11 years, and announced her retirement back in April.

“I ain’t getting any younger,” said Renn. “So, it’s a great time to put the pencil down, put the whistle down and go do some other things.”

Nothing really happened the way Joanne Renn thought it would. A graduate of Cox High School, Renn graduated from Old Dominion University, and started her own pizza business.

“(I thought) I would put Domino’s out of business. It ended up being really good,” said Renn.

Originally hired as a tennis coach at Virginia Wesleyan, she would also lead the women’s basketball team, and upon stepping in as AD in 2007, became the first female athletics director of a co-ed program in Old Dominion Athletic Conference history.

“She’s been that person that has made our brand a powerful brand,” said Wesleyan head basketball coach Dave Macedo, who was one of Renn’s first hires as associate athletics director.

Macedo went on to win the 2006 Division III national championship, the first national title in school history, and just wrapped up his 18th season.

“She is a reason I’m so passionate about being a Marlin,” said Macedo.

In 2008, Renn brought in Brandon Elliott, a former captain of the Marlins’ baseball team, to coach softball. Elliott’s team just brought home its second straight national title.

“That’s my lady,” said Elliott of Renn.

“She stuck by me in some very personal times. She gave a young coach an opportunity a long time ago, and she’s been by my side from day one.”

Renn’s success has been marked by consistency and championships across the board. “I’m excited for her, and I’m said for us,” said Elliott.

Renn will start a new chapter with the National Park Service. Tina Hill, the athletics director at Randolph College for the past ten years, will assume Renn’s role beginning July 1.

“I leave Wesleyan with love in my heart, with the staff and the students in a good spot,” said Renn.

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