Contact: Kelly Bartling, communications and community relations, 308-865-8455, firstname.lastname@example.org, 308-224-7473 (cell)
Kearney, Neb., May 13, 2013 – University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen today announced the search for a new athletic director following the resignation, effective July 31, of Jon McBride.
Kristensen, “with deep feelings of both appreciation and regret,” has accepted McBride’s resignation and asked the athletic director of 11 years to become a special assistant to continue to contribute to substantive athletics-related initiatives and projects.
Kristensen made the announcement in an email today to the UNK community, citing McBride’s vision and leadership guiding UNK athletics to regional and national prominence, and acknowledging the importance of McBride’s attention to his personal health and his “courageous” battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
“Jon’s decision to step down at this time was a particularly difficult one for him as he weighed his passion for UNK athletics, coaches, and student athletes against the need to give increasing attention to his own health,” Kristensen said. “In his new role as special assistant he will help ease the transition for a new Athletic Director.”
McBride informed his department today.
“It has indeed been a honor and privilege of serving as UNK’s athletic director and I am proud of the positive changes, growth and successes that our student-athletes, coaches, and administrative team have accomplished,” McBride said.
A national search for a new athletic director has already begun, Kristensen said. He has engaged a national search consultant and appointed a committee to advise him, one of whom will be McBride.
McBride will leave a legacy that will be hard to follow, Kristensen said.
“Jon leaves a truly impressive legacy. While saddened by his resignation, I am pleased that he will now focus more attention and time to his personal health. I hope you will join me in expressing appreciation to Jon for all he has accomplished for athletics, UNK, and our community.”
McBride arrived at UNK in August 2002. Prior to this appointment, he served as Assistant Athletics Director for External Affairs at the University of Florida from 1990 to 2002. Previously, in 1988-90, McBride served as Associate Athletic Director at Saint Louis University and was Coordinator of Electronic Media at Louisiana State University from 1983-88.
A native of Athens, Ohio, McBride holds a bachelor’s degree in radio-television management and a master’s degree in sports administration, both from Ohio University.
After more than 30 years in intercollegiate athletics leadership positions, McBride now shifts his focus to living with Parkinson’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2009.
“Doctors have advised me that my symptoms are very manageable with medicine, reduction in stress levels, regular exercise and physical therapy,” McBride said. “So, it’s time for me, and my family, to focus more on quality of life moving forward.”
“We have a very dedicated administrative staff who have taken great pride in doing business the right way; we have extremely talented and motivated coaches who have won 55 regular season and tournament championships and qualified for 53 NCAA Tournaments in eight team sports over the last 11 seasons,” said McBride. “Our student-athletes know they can compete for championships and achieve outstanding academic success while having a positive collegiate experience.
“Together, our administrative and coaching team has been able to gain the support of our alumni, donors, community fans and corporate leaders to raise more revenue than ever to grow the level of support for our athletic programs as we continue our transition to the MIAA.”
During the McBride era, UNK captured seven (out of 10) Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophies, three Division II Wrestling Championships, a national runner-up finish in volleyball, and an Elite 8 appearance in men’s basketball. UNK also fashioned seven NACDA Director’s Cup Top 25 rankings. In the classroom, Loper student-athletes have routinely earned grade point averages over 3.00, with the women’s cross country, wrestling and women’s basketball teams leading the nation in team GPA multiple times.
Among other accomplishments in McBride’s career, Kristensen noted:
- Excellence in academic achievements for student-athletes. “UNK coaches have led our student athletes to truly remarkable achievements in competition and in the classroom. Under his leadership, UNK experienced an unprecedented run of success highlighted by numerous RMAC All-Sports Trophies, three Division II Wrestling Championships, and NCAA tournament appearances in baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s golf, football, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball,” Kristensen said.
- Expanding and improving athletics facilities, most notably renovations to Ron and Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field and Memorial Field, and the Academy at Awarii Dunes Golf Club.
- Leading the transition to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 2012
- 124 Academic All-Americans, 47 Academic All-District, 414 Academic All-Conference in all sports 2008-2012
- Garnering national attention for the UNK athletic program and university by hosting the NCAA Volleyball Elite Eight in 2005, the NCAA Women’s Basketball Elite Eight in 2008, the NCAA Wrestling Championships in 2008 and 2012 as well as numerous NCAA regional events and conference tournaments
- Adding women’s soccer in 2009
- Winning the Division II Community Engagement Award of Excellence in 2011-12 for “Lopers Under the Lights.”
- The Lopers also rank high for the NCAA Division II all-sport trophy (NACDA-Learfield Sports Directors Cup), ranking in the top 30 in the nation in nine of the last 10 seasons (2012-13 will be released in June).
- The late Myles Brand, NCAA president, visited UNK in 2004, at which time he said: “This campus (UNK) is a poster child for how to do it right. This campus has success on the field and in the classroom. I wish I could bottle it and take it with me and distribute it elsewhere.” “UNK’s athletic and academic performance is absolutely noteworthy. Not only are you very successful athletically, having won the conference highest award the past nine years, but the overall athletic GPA is over a 3.00. That is remarkable.”
“I could not be more proud of Jon and all he has accomplished,” Kristensen said. “His legacy is one of success, building a program centered on student welfare, and unprecedented success in attracting regional and national athletic events to UNK. He has moved UNK to a new level as a recognized leader in Division II athletics. Although his stepping down is a short-term setback for the athletic department, Jon leaves the program poised for future success.”
Kristensen’s goal is to have new athletic director on campus by Aug. 1.
UNK Athletic Directors (1945-present)
Charlie Foster (1945-71)
Al Zikmund (1971-87)
Dick Beechner (1987-95)
Dick Dull (1995-98)
Mike Sumpter (1998-02)
Jon McBride (2002-)