With the loss of several athletic administrators over the past year, new personnel has been added to the staff in an effort to restructure the administration.
Lee De León, Director of Athletics, took the initiative and found five new student-athlete advisers after he took office in November 2014.
“The first thing I look for is if they love Jesus,” said De León. “Do they have a strong commitment to their faith? Are they on board with the mission that we do?”
That mission is to “Honor Christ through excellence in academics and athletics” which is accompanied with the vision to “Win at the highest level by providing the most Christ-centered student-athlete experience in collegiate athletics.”
Dave Kinard, Associate Director of Athletics for External Operations, was one of the first new hires for the Wildcats.
Kinard came to ACU from Boise State and began running ticket sales and fundraising for ACU in February. He serves as the liaison between ACU athletics and Peak Sports Management.
“They’re all outstanding,” said De León. “They’re very qualified and they all have Div. I experience.”
James Feeney, Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance, was hired in May and is responsible for coordinating eligibility of current and incoming players. Feeney is also in charge of getting transfer student’s eligibility and sealing national and conference letters-of-intent for newcomers.
Lisa Gilmore, Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator, was hired in early June 2015.
Gilmore works along with Feeney, but has a variety of roles at ACU. She is in charge of certification of eligibility, Title IX and gender equity issues, internal auditing, NCAA annual report, adviser to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and fifth-year scholarships.
“When Sylvia Barnier left, we really needed to hire someone who fit well with us and worked closely with me,” said De León. “Lisa is a great fit for us.”
Gilmore previously worked with De León at the University of New Mexico for three years where she worked as an academic adviser for the Lobo sports teams before making the switch into compliance.
Chris Ballard, Director of Academics, is a familiar face on ACU campus, but claimed a new position this year in the athletic department. He was an ACU graduate and previously worked as the Transfer Admissions Counselor and Student-Recruiter Manager.
Ballard will be responsible for developing, coordinating and carrying out academic success programs and services offered to ACU student-athletes. He will also be responsible for providing academic counseling and advising services while working alongside the ACU Registrar.
This will be the first year for the staff to work together as a whole department and they have already situated their changes, plans and revenue for this year.
“I’m really happy with the team that we have in place,” said De León. “I feel good about the talent that we have on board.”