The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced that University of Evansville Athletics Director John Stanley was the recipient of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award (ADOY).
Stanley was one of 28 AD’s to win the award over seven divisions. The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS; Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 15 at NACDA's 48th Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“It sort of validates the direction of our athletic program,” Stanley said. “I don’t really attribute it that much to me. I’m more of a support role — a mentor in some regard — and my whole objective is to make our athletic department better for the student-athletes and coaches.”
NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione explains the ADOY Award is essential because it highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
"Since 1998, NACDA has been highlighting significant contributions made by athletics directors across all divisions of our membership," said NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione. "This award allows athletics directors to be recognized not only nationally, but also in their respective communities which heightens the awareness of their leadership position in the athletics enterprise."
Over the last year and a half, athletics at UE have been moving in a great direction. Stanley has seen the building of the Ford Center and Fifth Third Practice Facility, which houses both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The men won 20 games for the first time in over a decade this year and advanced to the postseason for the fourth time in five years while the women saw extreme improvement in year two under head coach Oties Epps.
In the fall of 2012, the women’s soccer team won the regular season Missouri Valley Conference Championship and aim for even bigger things this year as the tournament comes to Arad McCutchan Stadium. The men’s soccer team also flourished last season, coming within a game of winning the league.
Saving its best for the most important run of the season was the Aces softball squad, which made a run through the MVC Tournament coming just innings away from a championship and a trip to the NCAA’s. The women’s swimming team, under the leadership of co-coach of the year Rickey Perkins, has also been one of the top squads in the conference. In cross country, both teams look to be on top this year following a banner season last year where each squad was winning events. This year, senior Kelby Jenkins looks to lead the squad through the season as she was victorious on four occasions last year.
Academics are always #1 at UE and Stanley’s work at helping student-athletes balance academics and athletics culminated in UE bringing home the 2012 all-academic award with the highest cumulative GPA in the MVC while his program also boasts the top graduation rate (93%) in the league.
“I’m hoping this (award) is a way to get the word out about what kind of quality student-athlete we have,” Stanley said. “We compete at a high level against quality teams and hold our own in just about all the sports we play. To me, it’s gratifying that people outside of Evansville, Ind., recognize that’s happening.”