April 9, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University President Dr. Stephen J. Kopp has extended Athletic Director Mike Hamrick's contract with the university through June 2017. Kopp said Hamrick's leadership has set a new standard for athletics at Marshall and that the veteran sports administrator has brought a high level of academic and fiscal accountability to the department since he was hired in 2009.
Hamrick has overseen a program that has placed increased emphasis on academic success and student athlete graduation, Kopp said. In the past year, Thundering Herd student athletes posted a graduation success rate (GSR) of 86 percent, which is four points higher than the national Division I institutional average of 82 percent and eight points higher than Marshall's own rate the year before. Five of Marshall's programs had 100 percent GSR scores.
"It's clear from the progress we're seeing with Marshall Athletics since he was hired as our Athletic Director that we made the right choice when we asked Mike and his wife, Soletta, to come back to Huntington," Kopp said. "I'm most proud of the results we're seeing in the classroom and with the caliber of student-athletes we are recruiting. The wins on the field and more fans in the seats are obviously a reflection of the quality of the program he is building here at Marshall. It's something I know all of the Herd Nation wants to see continue."
Hamrick also renegotiated a multimedia rights contract with IMG College, doubling Marshall's revenue share to $1.4 million per year, while also including state-of-the-art upgrades to the football stadium's scoreboard, video display and sound systems at no cost to the University. He also has overseen a $1.6 million renovation to the Henderson Center, which includes upgrades to the facility's sound and air-handling systems that will debut for the 2012-13 season.
Under Hamrick's leadership, memberships in the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, Marshall's primary athletics booster club, have nearly doubled, and membership in the "M Club," a society comprising former Marshall student-athletes, has tripled in three years.
In addition to hiring head football coach Doc Holliday and head men's basketball coach Tom Herrion, Hamrick targeted the "Football Enhancement Fund" to build the private support base of our Athletic Department. In 2011, Mike launched the Vision Campaign, a drive to raise $20 million for the construction of an indoor practice facility that includes a track, soccer stadium, student-athlete academic center, sports medicinal translational research center and a Marshall Hall of Fame atrium. The campaign is well under way with an architect selected for these projects with construction on the soccer stadium expected to commence later this year.
"I'm very much appreciative of the support that I've received from Dr. Kopp and the confidence he has shown in me," Hamrick said. "His vision for not just athletics, but the entire university, is something all Marshall alumni and supporters should value.
"As an alum, I do. The future is very bright for Herd athletics and I'm looking forward to continuing to be a part of it."
Kopp praised Hamrick's insight and experience as Marshall and Conference USA navigate the complex web of national conference realignment. "This is a time of unprecedented change in NCAA Division I athletics and I think Marshall and Conference USA are very fortunate to have someone with Mike's experience and skill on our side. He has been an architect of positive change and growth for our athletic programs since the day he began."
Hamrick played football at Marshall University from 1976 to 1980, and received his bachelor's degree in education from Marshall. He earned a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1981.
Before joining Marshall, Hamrick was director of athletics at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and East Carolina University. He also has been AD at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, assistant AD at Illinois State and assistant AD at the University of Kansas.