Eric Rienecker is in his 15th season with the Red Storm, and his tenth as the Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes. Rienecker is responsible for the overall coordination of St. John’s Student Development for Athletes and serves as the primary academic advisor for men’s basketball student-athletes. Along with Associate Provost for Academic Support Services Dr. Nancy S. Kaplan, Rienecker has been instrumental in the growth of the Student Development program at St. John’s, seeing a staff of three advisors blossom into a unit of nine full-time administrators and six graduate assistants. Rienecker and his staff operate out of the state-of-the-art Student-Athlete Center for Excellence, which features a 54-seat study center, private tutoring areas, a conference room and new office space, all housed in Carnesecca Arena.
With Rienecker’s leadership, the Student Development for Athletes program has received national recognition as a best practice from three different organizations. First in 2005, St. John's University was one of five institutions nationally to receive the National Basketball Association's Player Development Service Award. The award sponsored by the NBA recognized programs and individuals who provided innovative educational programming and support services with special focus on assisting men's basketball student-athletes. In 2008, the Student Development for Athletes program was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) as an exemplary practice for its holistic approach to meeting the needs of the student-athlete population. NACADA showcased the Student Development for Athletes program in a Best Practice Monograph entitled Advising Student-Athletes: A collaborative Approach to Success, published in 2008. Then in 2012, the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) recognized the Student Development for Athletes Program by presenting Rienecker with the N4A Model Practice Award. The N4A Model Practice Award is given annually to the university or college that displays best practices in academic programming for student-athletes. Programs are judged upon innovativeness and use of creativity, recognition, effectiveness, measurability as well as applicability of the best practice. St. John’s received commendation for its Faculty Engagement Program creating ways for faculty members to become more familiar with the student-athlete experience at the University.
Prior to St. John’s, Rienecker served as Senior Athletic Academic Advisor at Rutgers University for seven years. During his stint at Rutgers, Rienecker was the primary advisor for football, field hockey, men’s basketball, women’s soccer, softball and women’s lacrosse. As Senior Athletic Academic Advisor, he was also responsible for the development and supervision of the tutoring program, individual learning assistance program, study skills workshops and the supplemental instruction program for over 800 student-athletes.
Rienecker received his master’s degree in athletic counseling from Springfield College, and is a 1995 graduate of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he earned all-conference and all-New York regional honors as a member of the men’s soccer team.
Rienecker currently resides in Bloomfield, N.J., with his wife Tara, who is the Director of Student Development for Athletes at Montclair State University. The couple have three children, Zachary (15), Brooke (13), and Avery (6).