June 10, 2013
DeKALB, Ill. - Former Northern Illinois Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher was named one of four winners of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award for the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) on Monday.
Compher and fellow FBS winners John Currie (Kansas State), Jeff Long (University of Arkansas) and Kevin White (Duke University) will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 15 during NACDA's Annual Convention in Orlando, along with recipients from other NCAA Divisions, the NAIA and junior colleges. Compher, who spent five years leading the NIU athletics program, is now the Director of Athletics at East Carolina University.
"Congratulations to Jeff Compher, and to all the student-athletes, coaches and staff of Huskie Athletics who contributed to the accomplishments that led to this prestigious Athletic Director of the Year honor," said Northern Illinois President Dr. John Peters, who will retire on June 30. "NIU teams are competing for - and winning - more championships than ever before. Our student-athletes are winning in the classroom with multiple academic honors and awards, and high academic progress and graduation rates. Finally, they are making a tremendous impact in the community through their good works."
Compher was nominated for the athletic director of the year honor by Peters, who cited the many accomplishments of Northern Illinois' sports teams and student-athletes over the last several years in his nomination letter. Topping the list was the Huskie football team, which won back-to-back Mid-American Conference Championships and became the first MAC team to earn a berth in a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl game in 2012. The Huskies won 12 straight games en route to the Discover Orange Bowl and finished the season ranked in the Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 for the first time in school history.
The Northern Illinois men's soccer, volleyball and men's tennis teams also won MAC Championships over the last two years. In addition to this year's football championship, four Huskie teams played for a title in 2012-13 as the NIU volleyball, men's soccer, men's tennis and softball finished as tournament runners-up in their respective sports.
Academically, every Northern Illinois teams continues to surpass the Academic Progress Rate (APR) standards, led by the Huskie football team which posted the fifth-highest APR by an FBS school a year ago. A nation-leading three members of the 2012 NIU football team were named Capital One Academic All-Americans by CoSIDA in 2012-13. NIU student-athletes Kristin Hoffman (volleyball) and Nabal Jefferson (football) each won NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships and have been named finalists for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year and Walter Byers Award, respectively, in the past two years. Huskie student-athletes have posted an overall department grade point average of 3.0 in seven of the last eight semesters.
NIU has seen several facility enhancements over the past several years. In October, Northern Illinois will open the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, an 87,000 square foot indoor practice facility connected to the Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center. The Chessick Practice Center, the first privately-funded university project to secure three gifts of $1 million or more, will be utilized by every Huskie team, and was a key factor in helping NIU and the City of DeKalb secure the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) football championship in odd years beginning in 2013.
"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."
Compher is the fourth athletic director from a Mid-American Conference school to win an Under Armour AD of the Year Award.
To see the complete list of 2012-13 winners (all divisions), click here.
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