Allen Ward, director of athletics, will step down from his position at the end of the fall 2021 semester, according to a Friday news release by the Department of Athletics.
In his nearly four-year tenure at ACU, which began in July 2018 after taking over for Lee De Deon, Ward has guided Athletics through its Div. I and Western Athletic Conference transitions.
He also helped guide the men’s and women’s basketball teams to their first March Madness appearances in 2019 and a win in 2021, when the men’s basketball team defeated the University of Texas generating more than $200 million in advertising value equivalent for the university.
“It’s been a challenging three years, but a time filled with many special moments and accomplishments for ACU’s young Div. I program,” Ward said in the release. “I will always recall fondly the many ‘firsts’ I witnessed our coaches and student-athletes achieve in our Division 1 era.”
In the same release, Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, expressed his thankfulness to Ward, emphasizing how Ward helped the university successfully navigate its two experiences in March Madness.
“Allen brought great experience and a steadying influence to athletics on our campus at a key time,” said Schubert. “We will always be grateful to him for helping us navigate our 2019 and 2021 seasons at that high level with great class and professionalism.”
Along with success coming during game time, the athletic department saw multiple improvements in student-athlete academic achievement. The department of athletics has reported a 3.28 cumulative GPA for 2020-21 and 229 students being named on the Southland Commissioner’s Honor Roll, plus 13 programs had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The release also reported that Ward will step down to pursue new professional opportunities, one that he hopes may lead him closer to his home of Rolla, Missouri.
“I will hold dear the many friendships I have gained while at ACU,” said Ward. “The people I work with are truly special, and I am forever grateful for their hard work, dedication and loyalty. I’m excited to see what God has in store for me and my family, and I hope that maybe my next stop is closer to my family in Kansas City, but I will go where the Lord leads.”
With Ward’s departure, ACU will immediately start searching for its fourth director of athletics since 2013.