SBJ/June 9-15, 2014/In Depth
2014 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year
Published June 9, 2014, Page 28
Football Bowl Subdivision
Utah State University
Barnes became Utah State’s AD in 2008 and has helped bring growth and stability to Aggie athletics. Utah State has completed a $6.5 million strength and conditioning center and started construction on the $9.5 million Wayne Estes Center for basketball practice and volleyball competition. Utah State introduced a Nike brand and identity program and accepted an invitation to compete in the Mountain West Conference in all sports. Off campus, Barnes served as vice chairman of the NCAA men’s basketball committee during the 2013-14 academic year and will become chairman in 2014-15.
Fresno State University
Boeh is in his 32nd year of athletics administration, including the past nine at Fresno State. Boeh entirely restructured the athletic department with a new senior administrative team. Under his leadership, the school transitioned into the Mountain West Conference for the 2012-13 academic year after 20 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs won a conference championship in football and the conference tournament in women’s basketball in their first season in the Mountain West. And both teams did so with new coaches that Boeh hired.
Since Guerrero became AD 11 years go, the Bruins have won 24 NCAA championships in 18 different sports. More than 80 percent of UCLA teams have qualified for NCAA postseason competition since 2002. UCLA completed a major renovation of Pauley Pavilion in 2012 and has launched a fundraising campaign to build a new football training facility. Guerrero’s roots run deep at UCLA. He received his bachelor’s degree from the school in 1974 and played second base for the Bruin baseball team for four years.
Weaver stepped down on Dec. 31 after more than 16 years as head of the university’s athletic program. Many facility projects dot his career at Virginia Tech, including the Merryman Center sports medicine and conditioning complex, two major expansions at Lane Stadium and a new basketball practice complex. Weaver guided the school’s move to the ACC, where the Hokies began play in 2004.
Football Championship Subdivision
Nicholls State University
Bernardi has 13 years under his belt as AD at Nicholls State. He helped renew a self-assessed student fee to support Colonel athletics, marking the first time in more than two decades that athletics at Nicholls received funding directly from student fees. Some of that funding has allowed the school to improve athletic facilities. Bernardi also has focused on improving graduation rates and upgrading the academic services provided to student athletes.
University of Northern Iowa
In Dannen’s six years as AD, the Panthers have enjoyed competitive, academic and business success. Northern Iowa generated gift commitments totalling $27 million in the recently completed “Imagine the Impact” fundraising campaign, exceeding the target of $15 million by 80 percent. The school has made $8 million in facility upgrades. Dannen has negotiated multiyear marketing deals with Learfield Sports, Learfield-IMG Ticket Solutions and Nike.
SANDY HATFIELD CLUBB
Hatfield Clubb has guided Drake athletics for eight years and has developed a long-range strategic plan for Bulldog athletics. She led a fundraising campaign that generated $7 million in seven months to build a basketball practice facility and transform Drake Fieldhouse into a multipurpose facility. When she began her tenure in 2006, Hatfield Clubb became the first woman to serve as AD at an NCAA Division I school in Iowa.
Coastal Carolina University
Yurachek was Coastal’s AD from January 2010 until March 2014 and oversaw a department featuring 18 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sports programs. The Chanticleers won a total of 31 Big South championships and made 31 NCAA appearances during that time. Each program has benefited from the construction or renovation of facilities, with the latest projects including a $10.2 million baseball and softball complex.
Saint Louis University
May took over the helm at Saint Louis in 2008 and made academics a key part of his focus. The results were demonstrated last year when the NCAA honored six Billiken athletic programs as part of the Academic Performance Program awards. Under May’s leadership, nine Billiken squads have made NCAA tournament appearances, including the 2013-14 men’s basketball team that advanced to the NCAA tournament for a school-record third consecutive year.
Now in his 19th year as AD, McDonald guides a program that consists of 21 varsity sports. In 2012-13, he spearheaded Quinnipiac’s membership to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and guided the school’s successful bid to host the 2014 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four. He was the driving force behind the TD Bank Sports Center, which features separate arenas for men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey.
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Since arriving at UNC Greensboro five years ago, Record has revamped an athletic department that now fields men’s and women’s teams in 17 sports. She orchestrated a move that made Greensboro Coliseum the home court for the Spartan men’s basketball team. Spartan Club fundraising has surpassed its annual scholarship fund goal for the last three years and has set all-time records for the fund in consecutive years.
Wichita State University
Sexton, a Wichita State alumnus and former student athlete, is in his sixth full season as AD. In the 2012-13 academic year, 12 of 15 sports were represented in NCAA tournament competition, highlighted by the men’s basketball team reaching the Final Four. On the building front, the school has built new baseball and golf practice facilities, added a new HD scoreboard and sound system in Charles Koch Arena, new LED mezzanine signage to increase revenue, and renovated the men’s basketball locker room.
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Buisman has guided Minnesota State athletics since 2002. Under his leadership, several teams have seen spikes in home attendance. The launch of a new logo has raised brand awareness, and recent fundraising efforts have combined to generate more than $300,000 in new revenue. Buisman has advanced gender equity in scholarship funding and participation, and implemented a tuition waiver program to recruit a more diverse student population.
Pittsburg State University
Johnson became the 10th AD in the school’s history, taking over in July 2010. The Gorillas’ football team won the 2011 NCAA Division II national championship and the women’s basketball team advanced to the 2011-12 Elite Eight. Facility projects include the renovation of John Lance Arena/Whetzel Court and the groundbreaking for the Robert W. Plaster Center, which will play host to the 2016 and 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field National Championships.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
The 2013-14 academic year was one of the most successful for McDermott since she was named AD 16 years ago. The highlight was breaking ground on a $16 million athletics complex that will be the new home to Roadrunners soccer, baseball, softball and tennis. Metropolitan’s men’s basketball team earned a No. 1 ranking for much of the season, the volleyball team advanced to its 14th consecutive NCAA tournament, while women’s soccer extended its streak to 12 straight years.
University of West Florida
Scott took over West Florida athletics in May 2008 and since then the school has completed multiple facility projects, and added women’s swimming and diving, and football. The department has rebranded itself with new logos and has increased membership in the Argonaut Athletic Club from 150 to more than 700. The baseball team won a national title in 2011, followed by the women’s soccer team in 2012.
Johns Hopkins University
Calder’s tenure at Johns Hopkins has reached 26 years. He now oversees a program that sponsors 24 varsity sports and he has worked to make sure that each of those programs has quality facilities. The completion of the Cordish Lacrosse Center is the latest project to come online. The school also has opened the Wall-O’Mahoney Student Athlete Lounge, installed a video board at Homewood Field, built a competition track and field complex, and opened the O’Connor Recreation Center.
Downes was appointed AD in July 2007. During his time at the helm of the 18-sport program, Emory has won seven NCAA championships and 51 University Athletic Association titles. Downes came to Emory from Franklin and Marshall College, and also had stints at the California Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. He attended Dartmouth College, where he was a four-year starter on the varsity lacrosse team.
SUNY College at Oneonta
Ranieri has worked in SUNY athletics for 22 years, first as women’s soccer coach and now as AD, a post she has held for seven years. Among the highlights in her role as an administrator, Ranieri has supported the academic needs of student athletes through the development of a faculty mentorship program. As a coach, Ranieri built a program that ran up an unbeaten streak of 101 games and made 14 postseason appearances, including eight straight NCAA appearances from 1999-2006.
Rhode Island College
This marks the fourth time during his career at Rhode Island that Tencher is being recognized as a NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year. He is in his 18th year as the school’s AD and during that time has guided improvements to nearly all of Rhode Island’s sports facilities. In addition to his role in athletics, Tencher serves as assistant vice president for administration where he provides oversight to the college’s campus police department, facility operations and capital projects.
Our Lady of the Lake University
Hank launched the Saints’ athletic program with men’s soccer and women’s volleyball in 2007. The program now has 11 sports that generated a championship in women’s soccer, cross county and basketball this year, and men’s soccer last year. In 2009, the school joined the Red River Athletic Conference and added five sports. Beginning in spring 2015, it will add track and field and baseball. As sports have been added, Hank has steered several facility projects, including the renovation of Mabee Gymnasium and the softball diamond.
Grand View University
Plummer joined Grand View in 1995 as an admissions counselor and assistant baseball coach, and worked his way to the AD position in January 2007. Under his direction, Grand View athletics has grown from 275 athletes in 16 sports to 689 athletes in 24 sports. Wrestling won national championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and football won a national title in 2013. Several of the school’s other programs have earned national attention for their performance as well.
Spataro is in his sixth year as AD. He restructured Menlo’s scholarship model, increased support staff and training staff, and brought every head coaching position to full-time status. He oversaw a redesign of the department’s logos and website, and implemented live audio/video web streaming of all home athletic events. He spearheaded a community service effort that now yields 30 hours of community service per year, per athlete.
Westminster hired Wyatt as AD in September 2006. Wyatt’s leadership has generated increases in the number of sports offered, fundraising and sponsorships. Griffin teams and individual athletes have won 10 national championships and 19 conference championships. During Wyatt’s tenure, the cumulative GPA for Westminster student athletes has been 3.1 or higher. Multiple facility enhancements provide further highlights to Wyatt’s career at Westminster.
Junior College / Community College
Westmoreland County Community College
During Holler’s 17 years as AD, Westmoreland’s athletic program has climbed to the top of the Western Pennsylvania College Conference and received national recognition. The program has grown from four to 13 teams, and indoor and outdoor sports facilities have benefited from renovations. Holler recently implemented an academic monitoring program for student athletes to assure they maintain academic eligibility while completing their degrees.
Jackson oversees a department featuring recreation and intramural offerings, as well as the largest varsity sports program of all two-year institutions in New England and one of the few with a football team. Prior to his career in administration, Jackson coached men’s basketball and softball, and was elected to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
Paradise Valley Community College
Silcox spent 18 years as the women’s basketball coach and 11 years as assistant athletic director at Glendale Community College before moving to Paradise Valley in August 2002. Silcox oversees 12 programs including soccer, cross country, tennis, golf and softball. He was instrumental in the addition of the college’s baseball program in 2008.
County College of Morris
Sullivan is in his 11th year as AD at County College and oversees a department that consists of 10 sports. He also oversees the college’s fitness center, weight room, gymnasium and outdoor facilities, and supervises the aquatics facility. His pathway to the AD’s chair included stints as an event manager, academic monitor and intramural director.