Nov 25, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Detailed view of an Arizona State Sun Devils helmet during the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Arizona State to name Graham Rossini as AD

Arizona State is expected to promote Graham Rossini to fill the vacant athletic director position, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

The position has been open since Ray Anderson resigned Nov. 13.

Rossini is the Sun Devils’ senior associate athletic director and chief business officer. He was hired in 2021 after 13 years as an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rossini, 44, is a 2002 graduate of Arizona State. He previously worked in the Sun Devils athletic program as director of baseball operations.

The next AD will be in charge of overseeing the school’s shift from the Pac-12 to the Big 12.

Times have been rocky in Tempe over the past few seasons.

The football team is coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons, self-imposed bowl ban and continues working to reduce penalties from the NCAA probe into recruiting violations by former coach Herm Edwards.

The men’s basketball team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament just three times over the past 10 seasons, as an 11 seed each time and never advancing past the first round.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies Athletic Director Troy Dannen stands on the sidelines before a football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Washington AD Troy Dannen heading to Nebraska

Troy Dannen’s stay at Washington was brief.

Dannen, who took over as the athletic director in Seattle on Oct. 9, is finalizing a six-year deal to take the same role at Nebraska, ESPN reported Wednesday.

He would replace Trev Alberts, a Nebraska alum hired last week as athletic director at Texas A&M.

Dannen ran the athletic department at Tulane for eight years before taking the job with the Huskies.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to serve the University of Washington, our students, coaches, staff, faculty and incredible fans,” Dannen said in a news release issued in October. “Throughout this process, the passion, love and spirit of the UW was evident in every conversation, as was the alignment necessary for comprehensive success.

“We will compete for championships, and we will provide an unmatched experience for our student-athletes. The future has never been brighter for Husky Athletics, and I am humbled to steward the next chapter in our storied history.”

At Washington, he hired Jedd Fisch to replace Kalen DeBoer as football coach and gained some familiarity with the Big Ten as the Huskies prepare to transition to their new conference in the fall. He also fired basketball coach Mike Hopkins. Washington’s next athletic director will be the program’s third since August 2023.

Dannen is from traditional Big Ten country, and ESPN reported he and his wife wanted to return to their roots. A graduate of Northern Iowa, he was the athletic director at his alma mater for seven years before going to Tulane.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2022; Omaha, Nebraska, US;  Nebraska Cornhuskers athletic director Trev Alberts speaks at the introductory press conference at the Hawks Championship Center on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska AD Trev Alberts reportedly headed to Texas A&M

Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts is expected to leave his alma mater and accept the same position at Texas A&M, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

He would replace Ross Bjork, who was hired in January as athletic director at Ohio State.

Alberts has been athletic director at Nebraska since the start of the 2021-22 academic year. One of his biggest moves with the Cornhuskers was to fire fifth-year head coach Scott Frost three weeks into the 2022 season and later replace him with Matt Rhule.

Alberts wouldn’t have to make any such move this time. Football coach Jimbo Fisher was fired in November, and Alberts would inherit new coach Mike Elko, who was hired in December to lead the Aggies.

Now 53, Alberts was a linebacker at Nebraska and was the school’s first Butkus Award winner and an All-American in 1993. The Colts selected him No. 5 overall in the 1994 NFL Draft, and he played in Indianapolis for three seasons before retiring.

Before becoming the Cornhuskers’ AD, Alberts was the athletic director at Nebraska-Omaha.

–Field Level Media

Oct. 14, 2023; Lafayette, In., USA; 
Gloves lie on top of the helmet of Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Julian Fleming (4) before Saturday's NCAA Division I football game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium in Lafayette.

Reports: Ohio State to name Ross Bjork next AD

Ohio State is expected to name Ross Bjork, the athletic director at Texas A&M, to the same position, multiple outlets reported Monday.

Gene Smith, who is retiring in June, has been athletic director in Columbus since 2005.

A Kansas native who played football at Emporia State, Bjork, 51, has been at the helm at Texas A&M since July 2019. He previously was the athletic director at Ole Miss and Western Kentucky.

The Ohio State trustees must approve the hiring.

In a recent interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State’s new president, Ted Carter, said experience was a must for the new athletic director given the complexities of college athletics, including conference realignment and NIL issues.

“We need to hire somebody that is not learning on the job,” Carter said. “(They) have to come in with a whole lot of experience, understand the challenges that are out in front of us, be able to make certainly hard decisions — because there will be some hard decisions coming up.”

–Field Level Media


Mar 12, 2023; Fort Worth, TX, USA; A view of the American Athletic Conference logo before the game between the Houston Cougars and the Memphis Tigers at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt’s Tommy McClelland to take over as AD at Rice

Tommy McClelland, the deputy athletic director at Vanderbilt, has been named athletic director at Rice, effective Aug. 14.

He is a longtime administrator, hired as athletic director at McNeese State in 2008. Then just 26, he was the youngest person to hold the position in NCAA Division I sports at the time.

After five years at McNeese State, he was named athletic director at Louisiana Tech and held the position until joining the Vanderbilt staff in 2020.

“We’re thrilled to be able to attract someone with Tommy’s breadth of experience and success,” Rice president Reginald DesRoches said. “He brings the values of academic excellence and deep integrity that define Rice, coupled with a passionate desire to compete successfully at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. These attributes will be critical for Rice’s first season in the American Athletic Conference and the years to follow.”

McClelland is taking over at the Houston school for Joe Karlgaard, who resigned as athletic director this month to take a job in the private sector.

Rice is moving from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in the upcoming academic year. The Owls are one of six programs joining the AAC, along with Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, UAB and UTSA.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; A general view of a Miami Hurricanes helmet in the end zone prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Blake James out as Miami (Fla.) athletic director

Blake James was fired Monday as athletic director at Miami (Fla.) on Monday after eight years in the position.

In a release, Miami said the school and James “mutually agreed to part ways,” but the Miami Herald reported the decision was made by university president Julio Frenk.

The university said a national search for a new athletic director will begin immediately. Jennifer Strawley, Miami’s deputy athletic director, will serve as interim AD.

James served in multiple leadership roles in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA, earning “national recognition from his peers,” the release said.

“It has been an honor to lead Miami athletics and to be a part of such a world-class institution,” James said. “I am proud of the work that we have done together, though I know there is still more yet to be achieved.”

Under James, who took over as AD in 2013, Miami won five NCAA individual championships, six ACC team titles and 71 individual ACC titles.

“I want to thank Blake for his years of service to the University of Miami,” Frenk said. “Paired with The U’s storied history in intercollegiate sports, the enhancements Blake championed — in areas ranging from student-athlete support and academic achievement to community outreach and facility upgrades — give us a solid foundation on which to build.”

James was fired two days after Miami dropped a heartbreaker to Florida State in football, 31-28, as Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis scored on a 1-yard run with 26 seconds remaining.

Fans have voiced their displeasure with the school’s football program and have been highly critical of James.

University administrators — or perhaps the new AD, if hired quickly enough — must decide whether to retain Manny Diaz, who was named head football coach following the 2018 season upon the unexpected retirement of Mark Richt.

Diaz had been the defensive coordinator under Richt and accepted the head-coaching job at Temple – prompting James to move quickly to name him head coach.

Miami paid a $4 million buyout to bring him back less than three weeks after he departed.

The Hurricanes are 19-15 under Diaz, who was hired to make Miami a national championship contender again.

Under Diaz, the Hurricanes finished 6-7 in 2019 and 8-3 in 2020, and they have a 5-5 (3-3 Athletic Coast Conference) record this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A general view of a Missouri Tigers logo on the retaining wall before the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri athletics director Jim Sterk steps down

The University of Missouri and Jim Sterk “mutually agreed” that the athletics director will resign from his post.

Per the Monday announcement, Sterk, who was two weeks from the fifth anniversary of taking the job, will remain in his role until a replacement can be hired.

“We are grateful for the dedicated leadership Jim has provided over the last five years to position Mizzou for even greater success,” Tigers president Mun Choi said in a statement. “We recognize his many contributions and appreciate his continued role as we search for the next leader of Mizzou Athletics.

“We now begin a national search for a visionary athletics director who will develop a strategic plan for Mizzou to achieve exceptional success in the SEC and to navigate a bold path in the rapidly evolving world of collegiate athletics.”

The surprising move comes at a time of potential upheaval around college sports, especially with the Southeastern Conference flirting with adding a pair of Big 12 powers, Oklahoma and Texas, to its ranks.

Sterk was the 20th athletics director in school history and hired the current head coaches for football (Eli Drinkwitz) and men’s basketball (Cuonzo Martin) at the university. Sterk previously had sports administration experience at San Diego State, Washington State and Portland.

“I am grateful for the hard work of our amazing staff, coaches and student-athletes, as well as the generous support of our alumni and friends during my tenure as athletics director,” Sterk said. “I believe that Mizzou Athletics is well positioned for future success, and I wish our coaches and student-athletes well in their continued quest for academic and athletic excellence.”

According to the university, the Tigers had 18 teams make the postseason in the 2020-21 athletic season, a school record.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2018; College Park, MD, USA; The official BIG 10 logo is painted on the grass at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Art Pittman-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern names Derrick Gragg its next AD

Northwestern named NCAA executive Dr. Derrick Gragg as its new athletic director on Friday.

Gragg, the NCAA’s senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement, will begin July 1. He previously served as athletic director at Tulsa and Eastern Michigan.

“I am thrilled and humbled to join the Northwestern University family at this pivotal moment in college athletics,” Gragg said. “My career has been shaped by an unwavering belief in the potential of student-athletes to excel in all areas. These young people need more support than ever in the midst of challenging, changing and exciting times. I look forward to joining an incredible roster of coaches and staff in Evanston on this collaborative mission to help our Wildcats achieve at the highest level as students, as athletes and as people.”

Gragg is filling the vacancy created when Mike Polisky resigned last month after just 10 days on the job. The university received backlash after announcing the promotion of Polisky, formerly the deputy athletic director for external affairs, as news spread that he was a defendant in a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment within the cheerleading program.

Polisky had been hired to replace Jim Phillips, who was named in December by the Athletic Coast Conference as the successor to commissioner John Swofford.

“It was essential for us to find the right leader for the next chapter at Northwestern — someone who can build both academic and athletic excellence at a time of rapid change in the intercollegiate sports landscape, and also someone who can create the best possible environment for students, staff and coaches,” Northwester president Morton Schapiro said. “After talking extensively with Derrick, it was clear that he was the ideal person for the job.”

Gragg was AD at Eastern Michigan from 2006-13 and at Tulsa from 2013-20 before resigning to accept the NCAA position a year ago. He played football at Vanderbilt, then earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Wayne State and his doctorate in higher education administration from Arkansas.

Northwestern linguistics professor Robert Gundlach will continue to serve as interim athletic director until July 1.

–Field Level Media

Deputy Athletic Director Chris McIntosh, who captained Wisconsin's back-to-back Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions in 1998 and 1999, speaks to several thousand Badgers fans gathered for a pep rally outside LA Live on Dec. 30, 2019, in Los Angeles. The 8th-ranked Badgers faced 6th-ranked Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1, 2020.


Wisconsin promotes alum Chris McIntosh to athletic director

Wisconsin will introduce Chris McIntosh, a former Badgers football player, as athletic director on Wednesday. He succeeds Barry Alvarez, who is retiring June 30 after 18 seasons.

McIntosh, 44, has worked in the Wisconsin athletic department since 2014 and as deputy athletic director since 2017, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department, student-athlete recruitment, business development, human resources and strategic planning.

“Chris is a natural leader who loves the Badgers and cares about our student-athletes,” chancellor Rebecca Blank said. “He is uniquely positioned to continue our proud traditions of success on and off the field and doing things ‘the right way.’ Chris will build upon those traditions and has a strong vision for leading the program during a time of change in college athletics.”

A Wisconsin native, McIntosh played football at Pewaukee High School before enrolling at Wisconsin in 1996. He played four seasons on the offensive line and was a team captain and a consensus first-team All-American as a senior in 1999. He was a member of the Badgers teams that won the Rose Bowl in 1999 and 2000 and was inducted in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Seattle Seahawks selected him No. 22 overall in the 2000 draft, but injuries limited him to just 24 NFL games. He retired after the 2002 season.

“I owe so much to the University of Wisconsin, and I’m deeply honored to be able to succeed Barry Alvarez,” McIntosh said. “We will build upon our legacy of success on the field of competition and support our student-athletes in the classroom, on campus and after college.”

His promotion was praised, even by opponents.

“Chris is an excellent hire and is uniquely prepared to lead the University of Wisconsin Athletic department,” said Gene Smith, who has served as athletic director at Ohio State since 2005.

“He has the highest of integrity, knows the culture of Badger athletics, is respected by his peers in the Big Ten Conference and will bring the former student-athlete experience to his leadership style, which I feel is invaluable.”

–Field Level Media