Ali Kantor has been at the helm of the Simmons Athletic Department since 1995. As Athletic Director, Kantor has worked to develop a clear vision for the NCAA Division III Sharks as a program that reflects the mission and strategic priorities of Simmons College; the development of women leaders.
Since Kantor’s arrival at Simmons, the Athletic Department has morphed from one of broad participation, to a set of competitive and successful teams. Over the past 10 years, Simmons Athletics has risen to new heights where the Sharks have won numerous conference championships, received postseason National tournament bids, regional rankings and numerous individual athlete honors and awards. During that period, Kantor has presided over a program that has earned three Commissioner Cups as the top women's athletics program in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
In August of 2016 Kantor's years of hard work paid off with the opening of the State-of-the-Art Daly Athletics Complex, which was a culmination of thousands of hours of planning and hard work over eight years. The project was an innovative public-private partnership with the community of Allston-Brighton and Brighton High School for a state-of-the-art athletic complex located on the Daly Field site in Brighton, Mass. The complex features a stadium for Simmons soccer and lacrosse as well as tennis courts, a field hockey field and a softball field for the college's varsity teams. In addition, there will be lockerroom space and sports medicine facilities right on site. It marked the first time in school history that varsity athletics will has its own home fields for outdoor athletic programs.
In the Spring of 2016, Kantor received the Priscilla McKee Award from the Simmons Alumnae/i Association at the college's Service Awards Reception. The honor was established by the Alumnae/i Association in 1988 and is presented annually to one member of the faculty or staff of the College in recognition of exceptional service to the Simmons community.
Kantor has general oversight of the Department of Athletics housed in the William J. Holmes Sports and Fitness Center. During her time at Simmons, Kantor has extended the Sports Center into the greater Boston community. The facility has opened its doors to the city and now offers a home to the Women’s Sports Foundation Boston-based program GoGirlGo! Training and tutoring site for Girls Row, a physical education facility for Boston Public School neighbor The McKinley Middle School, and has welcomed such community groups as the Susan G. Komen Foundation Breast Cancer Shoot for the Cure, Anton Cleaners Belle of the Ball and the Massachusetts Special Olympics.
Kantor holds two degrees in higher education; a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Social Work in Clinical Practice from the Boston University School of Social Work. During her undergraduate years at Franklin and Marshall College, Kantor was a two-sport varsity athlete in field hockey and basketball, where she captained both teams as a junior and senior. While she played defense as sweeper, the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats took the Middle Atlantic Conference Field Hockey Championships in 1975 and 1977. Her senior year, as a basketball point guard, Kantor was selected to represent F&M at the Mid Atlantic States Basketball Olympic trials.
Kantor continued her commitment to athletic excellence as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Division I Women’s Basketball program at Michigan for two years. A six-year appointment as the Assistant Coach for the DI Women’s Basketball program at Boston College, where she was also the Coordinator for Women’s Athletics, finally led Kantor to Simmons College in 1988, where she ran the Basketball program as Head Coach for five years.
Kantor’s role at Boston College affirmed her commitment to mentoring, leadership development and coaching, but also sparked interest and skill in problem solving, management and strategic planning. Kantor has pursued these interests as an Instructor for the Simmons College First Year Experience Seminar; Assistant Commissioner of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in 1997; Chair for the New England NCAA Field Hockey Championships Committee from 1997-1999; member of the NCAA Field Hockey Championships Committee from 1998-2000;and Chair of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships from 2000-present; member of the Simmons College Strategic Planning Committee in 2007; member of the Grants Allocation Committee for Women’s Sports Foundation and GoGirlGo in 2008.
“Simmons Athletes excel both in the classroom and on the field,” says Kantor. “Each year many of our athletes receive national and regional academic awards in addition to their many athletic successes.
“It has been the mission of the Athletic Department to support each individual student athlete in their personal academic and athletic goals, and it is our goal as Student Affairs personnel to provide the highest caliber of facilities, equipment and athletic programming so that our athletes may be highly successful.
“Our Athletic program is built on the educational principles of developing leadership skills through athletic participation. Our student athletes, through their experiences in the varsity sports teams, are learning, practicing and developing the principles of leadership on a daily basis. In our teaching and coaching, we focus on and look for opportunities where we can assist each student to reach their potential as a leader.”