MONTEVALLO, Ala. – University of Montevallo President Dr. John W. Stewart III announced the hiring of Mark Richard on Thursday, June 12 as the ninth full-time Director of Athletics at the University.
Richard, who has 26 years of collegiate sports administration experience, just completed his fifth year as the Director of Athletics at Gannon University, an NCAA Division II institution in Erie, Pennsylvania.
“The University of Montevallo is proud of our athletics legacy and our thousands of athletic alumni,” Stewart said. “I am confident Mark will build on that legacy to make our athletics program one of the best in the Peach Belt Conference. Mark’s impressive background is an asset to our 14 NCAA Division II teams and the coaching staff. Mark brings to our campus the leadership we need to continue our focus on the academic success of our student-athletes, increasing graduation rates and developing our student-athletes to be leaders in our communities.”
The Meadville, Pennsylvania, native and former Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) student-athlete came to Gannon after spending 10 years at Auburn University, including the final four years as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Team Support, where he was an integral part of the leadership and strategic planning group at Auburn University.
Richard spent three years at Vanderbilt University as Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance prior to his tenure at Auburn. Richard has also served as the Director of NCAA Compliance and Student Services and the Coordinator of Game Operations at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), Director of Student-Athlete Services at North Carolina State University and an Operations and Facilities Advisor at the University of Florida during his administrative career.
“I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to lead an outstanding NCAA Division II program,” Richard said. “I look forward to working with a proven coaching staff and talented student-athletes at the University of Montevallo. The University has a reputation for strong academics and a commitment to a dynamic student experience. I am excited to be the next Director of Athletics at the University of Montevallo.”
At Montevallo, Richard will guide an athletic department that has increased its student-athlete population by more than 100 percent in the past seven years while continuing to develop a culture for a high level of academic excellence. More than 60 percent of all Montevallo student-athletes have posted a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and the department has posted record semester and cumulative grade point averages while graduating student-athletes at a rate 20 percent higher than the student body at-large.
He will lead a department that has embraced the NCAA Division II philosophy of community engagement and has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the campus and surrounding communities, culminating with the department’s selection as the Peach Belt Conference winner and a national finalist for the NCAA Division II Award of Excellence. This award recognizes a commitment to growth opportunities through academic achievement, learning in high-level athletics competition and development of positive societal attitudes in service to the community.
In his new role, Richard will oversee a department that has continued to rise in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings while fielding five All-Americans, two Academic All-Americans, two conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year, five Peach Belt Conference championship teams and eight conference finalists within the past seven years. During the same time frame, 10 different sports have participated in NCAA postseason play, including the Falcons’ appearance in the 2012 National Championship game in men’s basketball that was televised live by CBS to an audience of approximately 3.1 million viewers.
Richard will spearhead the continued growth within the
department, which will expand with the addition of softball and
men’s outdoor track and field for the 2014-15 season.
Gannon has excelled under Richard's leadership during the past five years both in the classroom and on the playing field, finishing among the top 20 percent of the nation's NCAA Division II athletics programs in the final 2012-13 NCAA Division II Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings. Ten Gannon programs were regionally-ranked at some point with seven being nationally-ranked. Ten Gannon student-athletes were named Capital One Academic All-Americans, representing the highest total in NCAA Division II. Individual academic awards included a PSAC Champion Scholar, three PSAC Top 10 Award winners, 12 Capital One Academic All-District selections and 21 overall Academic All-Americans. The entire student-athlete population also combined to work almost 3,000 hours of community service during the last academic year.
Richard started his Auburn tenure as the Associate Director of Athletics in 1999 and served in that capacity until 2004, when he was promoted to Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Team Support. Richard’s experience and duties at Auburn included compliance, budgets, scheduling, strategic planning, direct supervision of selected sports and drug-testing policies for an institution with approximately 500 student-athletes.
Richard served as the Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance at Vanderbilt University (1997-99) and the Director of NCAA Compliance and Student Services at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1995-97), where he implemented a continuing NCAA Compliance Education Program and the CHAMPS program. He began his stay at UNLV as the Coordinator of Game Operations (1993-95), where he also served as the Director of Bowl Game Operations for the Las Vegas Bowl.
Richard began his administrative career as an Operations and Facilities Advisor at the University of Florida (1988-90) before moving to North Carolina State University to become the Director of Student-Athlete Services (1990-93).
Richard graduated from PSAC member Clarion University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He was a two-sport athlete at Clarion, lettering four times in football (1979-82) and playing one season (1980) for the baseball team. Richard earned his Master’s of Exercise and Sport Sciences with a sports management emphasis from the University of Florida in 1989.
Richard has three daughters, Mackenzie Margaret (13), Hope Elliott (6) and Nicole Rene (6).