SBJ/June 10-16, 2013/In Depth
2013 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year
Published June 10, 2013, Page 22
Football Bowl Subdivision
Northern Illinois University
Compher led the Huskies for five years and guided the program to athletic and academic success. The Huskies became the first Mid-American Conference team to play in a BCS bowl game, and the school posted its highest graduation success rate. Compher oversaw the construction of the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, which will be used by all 17 sports when it opens this fall. In May, Compher began a new job as AD at East Carolina University.
Kansas State University
Since Currie’s introduction as Kansas State’s AD in May 2009, the athletic program has gone from a budget deficit to financial solvency, initiated $100 million in facility improvements and launched K-StateHD.TV, a premium digital network. Currie has overhauled Kansas State’s marketing and fundraising efforts, resulting in a doubling of annual cash giving since his arrival. His first marquee coaching hire, Bruce Weber, led the Wildcats to their first men’s basketball conference title in 36 years.
University of Arkansas
Now in his sixth year at Arkansas, Long has revitalized the tradition-rich program. He guided the Razorbacks to a record breaking fundraising year and launched the first four projects of the school’s facilities master plan. In 2012, Arkansas broke ground on a $40 million football center, and gained approval for a student-athlete academic and dining facility, a new basketball practice facility, and a baseball and indoor track training facility.
White joined Duke in 2008 and since then the Blue Devils have won four NCAA championships — women’s tennis in 2009, men’s basketball in 2010 and men’s lacrosse in 2010 and 2013. Several facility projects were completed in the past year, including Pascal Field House (the school’s new indoor football practice facility), the reconstruction of field hockey’s Williams Field, renovations to the golf course and upgrades to the soccer practice fields.
Football Championship Subdivision
Eastern Washington University
Chaves arrived at Eastern Washington in 2007. His tenure has been punctuated by the installation of the first red synthetic football surface, which was added in 2010. The football team went undefeated the first season on the new turf en route to the program’s first FCS national title. Chaves also has overseen projects such as new seating at Reese Court, a $1.5 million locker room update, and video board installations for both Roos Field and Reese Court.
McCutcheon is in his 12th year at the helm of Lafayette athletics. Early in his tenure, he spearheaded the creation of a facilities master plan, which resulted in a $23 million renovation of Fisher Stadium, the construction of a baseball stadium, the renovation of the soccer stadium, and the construction of a new softball stadium. The track and field program relocated to Metzgar Fields Athletic Complex where a new track opened for competition in 2009.
Southern Illinois University
Shortly after arriving on campus in 2006, Moccia drafted an $80 million facilities campaign featuring a new 15,000-seat football stadium, a total renovation of SIU Arena, and construction of a new office complex and team locker rooms. The department built a $4 million complex for its track and field program, and is starting a major renovation to the baseball stadium. The department signed a seven-figure multimedia rights agreement with Learfield Sports, and signed the school’s first all-school footwear and apparel deal with Under Armour.
Tennessee Technological University
Wilson arrived at Tennessee Technological in 2004 and since then has worked to improve both facilities and the academic performance of student athletes. Private fundraising contributed toward the construction of a 25,000-square-foot athletic performance center and new basketball offices. Wilson initiated a new branding and standard graphic identity program that boosted regional and national recognition of the school’s athletic program.
University of Maryland Baltimore County
With a 24-year tenure under his belt, Brown is retiring from the university’s athletic program but staying connected to the school. Under Brown’s leadership, the Retriever Activities Center was redeveloped and the outdoor aquatic complex, Retriever Soccer Park and a track and field complex were constructed. After retiring, Brown will join the school’s Division of Professional Studies, where he will help explore the feasibility of an undergraduate concentration in sports management.
University of North Carolina Asheville
Cone is in her ninth year as director of athletics at UNC Asheville. During her tenure, she oversaw the opening of the $42 million Wilma M. Sherrill Center and Kimmel Arena. She reinstated women’s swimming last year, marking the first time the athletic department had added a sport in 20 years.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Kavanagh is in his fourth year as AD at Florida Gulf Coast and is only the second full-time AD in school history. The school has won a combined 12 Atlantic Sun regular-season crowns, seven Atlantic Sun Tournament titles and four consecutive Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association championships. Last season, the “Dunk City” men’s basketball team made a celebrated Cinderella run to the Sweet 16.
University of Evansville
Since being appointed AD six years ago, Stanley has overseen construction of the Beeler Family Athletics Academic Center, which provides workspace and 24-hour computer access to all student athletes. He managed the building of two facilities to benefit the basketball teams, and led the effort to return the Missouri Valley Conference men’s and women’s soccer tournaments to Evansville.
Parker began her tenure at Rollins College in 2006. Academic success among student athletes includes three valedictorians in the last six years. On the competitive front, Parker oversaw the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse, and the women’s team advanced to the Final Four in only its fifth year. Parker also oversaw the rebranding of the athletics website, logo, mascot and booster club.
Grand Valley State University
Selgo is in his 18th year as AD and has played a key role in the development of the school’s athletic facilities and programs, recently adding women’s lacrosse as a varsity sport. Lubbers Stadium began a three-phase renovation in 2011, and a new outdoor track and field/lacrosse stadium opened in the fall of 2011. The Kelly Family Sports Center, which opened in 2008, gives academic classes and athletic teams the opportunity to work inside during inclement weather.
Wiegandt is in his eighth year as Bellarmine’s AD. He has overseen several facility upgrades, including the construction of Owsley B. Frazier Stadium and the Eddie Weber Tennis Complex, as well as renovations to Knights Hall (basketball and volleyball arena) and Knights Field (baseball and softball). In the last three years, Bellarmine has hosted 12 NCAA Division II national championships, and the 2013 men’s basketball Elite Eight. In 2010-11, Bellarmine won the national championship in men’s basketball, the first national title in the school’s history.
University of Indianapolis
Willey is in her 10th year as AD and her 37th overall at Indianapolis. In September 2012, she was promoted to vice president for intercollegiate athletics. The department’s facilities have undergone major renovations under Willey’s watch, with the biggest upgrade completed early in 2011 — the new Athletics & Recreation Center. The indoor facility provides a competition track and space for sports teams, and fitness facilities for the campus community.
University of Southern Maine
Bean has been the university’s AD since 1993. Under his direction, Southern Maine has built a field house, an Olympic-sized ice arena and Hannaford Field, the school’s first synthetic turf playing surface. All of the school’s sports facilities have been renovated. Bean helped create the sport management major at the university, moved the coaching certificate program to a recognized academic minor, and is working with the university’s Lewiston-Auburn College to include a concentration in athletic coaching in its leadership and organizational studies master’s degree.
Western Connecticut State University
Farrington has led the school’s athletics since 1986, overseeing a department that includes 350 student athletes in 14 varsity sports. The Westside Athletic Complex is the latest addition to the athletic facilities on campus. Western added field hockey for the 2005 season, a year after adding men’s lacrosse as a varsity sport. Women’s lacrosse also was added under Farrington’s watch, as was women’s soccer and women’s swimming and diving.
University of Texas at Tyler
Patterson was hired in 2001 as the school’s first AD, charged with building the program from the ground up. By the spring of 2005, Patterson had implemented 13 sports and supervised the construction of facilities. He led the university to becoming a full member of the NCAA in 2007. During his career at the university, Patterson has served in other capacities, including dean of student affairs, assistant vice president for student affairs, and vice president for student affairs.
St. Lawrence University
Strait has worked in the school’s athletic department since 1970, coaching six different sports, including 17 years as the women’s tennis coach, eight years as the men’s tennis coach and the last 15 years as AD. Strait has added seven new teams to the Saints’ athletic program and has guided the process of renovating the school’s athletic facilities, including upgrades of Appleton Arena and Burkman Gym, a new artificial turf field, an outdoor track and football facility, a soccer stadium and new practice venues.
Wilson has been at the helm of Vanguard’s athletic department since 1995. In his stint as AD, the school has boasted 199 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, 149 NAIA All-Americans, 10 NAIA Teams of Character and 57 teams that competed in the NAIA national championships. In addition, the 2008 women’s basketball team won a national championship. The Lions are two-time Dr. Leroy Walker Award winners and two-time NAIA National Coach of Character winners.
Wayland Baptist University
Feris has been AD and a professor of exercise and sport science at Wayland since 1990, directing 13 head coaches, 27 assistant coaches and eight full-time athletics staff members. He has had supervision and oversight for adding 13 sports and increasing the number of student athletes by approximately 500 percent.
McCutchen has held the AD post for five years. During that time, he has overseen several facility improvements, most recently the completion of the Dan Kirkland Wells Baseball Field House, which includes a club house with offices, a locker room, a meeting room and laundry facilities. Freed-Hardeman has increased from seven to 11 sports during his tenure.
Schebler joined Ashford University in 1998. The school now has 17 intercollegiate programs, and the athletic department staff has grown from four full-time staffers to 40 full-time, part-time and volunteer staff members. Schebler recently transitioned Ashford into a new conference, joining the Association of Independent Institutions for 2012-13. The Saints have appeared in several NAIA national championships, highlighted most recently by the men’s and women’s soccer teams both reaching the round of 16 in 2012.
Junior College / Community College
Santa Rosa Junior College
Forkum has amassed a 44-year career as an instructor, professor, men’s basketball coach, academics and athletics administrator, college admissions director and speaker. The last six of those years have been spent as the dean of physical education and athletic director, where he oversees a sports program that fields 20 teams.
Gloucester County College
Case is in charge of a program that has won the National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators Cup Award in the non-scholarship division the past three years. Since 1991, the college has won 22 national championships in eight sports, and 57 teams have had top-three national finishes in that time period.
Hutchinson Community College
Stange has been Hutchinson’s AD for 16 years and earlier coached the men’s basketball team for three seasons. In 2004, he helped lead the effort for a public vote to renovate Gowans Stadium and helped secure the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Northampton Community College
In five years, Tucker has overseen the Spartans program as it became a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, launched nccspartans.com and renovated several facilities, including a new softball complex. Since joining the NJCAA, each of Northampton’s teams has advanced to at least its Regional Final Four.