SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Bryan Felt and his son Tyler had their New Providence house to themselves for a few days. After returning home from Cooperstown, where they watched middle son and brother Kyle play in a baseball tournament, Bryan had work to do and Tyler had soccer commitments.
Unbeknownst to Tyler, his dad's obligations would lead to one of the happiest moments in his young life. The lifelong Seton Hall Pirates fan was about to see both his and his dad's dream come true.
After having dinner with Seton Hall’s incoming president, Dr. Joseph Nyre, and the Pirates’ outgoing AD and newly appointed Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Pat Lyons, Bryan went home with big news that he had to tell his son first.
Bryan's news? He was about to be named Director of Athletics and Recreation at his alma mater, Seton Hall University.
"When I told my son, I have never seen my son so emotional,” Bryan Felt said. “There were literally tears in the kid’s eyes. I just knew how much it means to him because it was home for him too. He’s the biggest Pirates fan. I literally learned some of these things when I was away from Seton Hall these last couple of years. I’ve always kept following, but he’s kept me in the loop.”
Bryan Felt spent almost his entire post-college life at Seton Hall. He worked in University Advancement from 2001-2005 until he was named Exectuive Director of Seton Hall's athletic fundraising arm, Pirate Blue. He served in that capacity until 2011 when Lyons named him Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs. He was promoted to Senior Athletics Director in September 2015 and served in that capacity until two years ago when he left South Orange to be the Director of Athletics at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City.
Less than 24 months later, Felt is back at Seton Hall, looking to grow a department he and his family care so deeply about.
"It’s home,” Felts said. “I was thinking about my kids. I remember my kids in diapers running around the gym floor and Owen T. Carroll Field. My wife had my oldest son [Tyler], a new born, at the Meadowlands at games. It’s pretty amazing to see that they’ve grown up here so much. I think they’re elated to be back. I’m absolutely elated to be back.”
The two-time graduate of The Hall (1997 and 2005), Felt met his wife Tara when they were undergrads and “raised his kids” in Walsh Gym and Prudential Center. The personal feeling of a family atmosphere at Seton Hall will be the cornerstone of Felt’s tenure as AD.
With members of his extended Seton Hall and Saint Peter’s family sitting in Walsh Gym during his introductory press conference on Monday, Felt proclaimed his goal to build on a legacy that coaches, players, alumni and fans have been a part of for decades prior.
"Seton Hall University has been a part of my life for over two decades, and the opportunity to lead the athletics department is a dream come true,” Felt said. “I now look forward to working with our student-athletes, coaches, staff, Pirate Blue supporters and our entire University community to continue to inspire a championship culture of success on the field, in the classroom and in life.”
Felt is the second major hire in Nyre’s young tenure in South Orange, the other being Lyons’ promotion to President’s Hall. After a nationwide search, Nyre said it was a no-brainer to bring Felt back home.
"Bryan knows the history of Seton Hall, knows the culture of Seton Hall, knows the future of Seton Hall. With one university, one executive team, we’ll position Bryan to lead Seton Hall Athletics, to make the tough decisions and to recruit the right staff, the right people and hopefully retain the best coaches possible.”
Felt’s first official day on the job is this coming Monday. However, there won’t be a “get to know you” period like there is with most executive hires. Because of his familiarity with the department, Felt expects to get right to work. With a potential AP Top 15 men’s basketball program gearing up for a historic season, and Fall sports starting as well, Felt said he is already locked and loaded for what is to come.
The one thing that Felt is most excited for...when the Pirates return to game action, he and is family are right back where they belong...home in South Orange.