Director of Athletics

University of California Davis
California, United States
Salary Not specified
Jan 15, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) seeks an experienced, creative, energetic, and student-centered leader to serve the institution as its next director of athletics (AD or director).

UC Davis is one of ten campuses of the world-class University of California System and is consistently ranked among the top public institutions nationally. Founded primarily as an agricultural campus, the university has expanded over the past century to include graduate and professional programs in medicine (which includes the UC Davis Medical Center), law, veterinary medicine, education, nursing, and business management, in addition to 90 research programs offered by UC Davis Graduate Studies. The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is the largest veterinary school in the United States and has been ranked first in the world for five consecutive years. Centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley, UC Davis is known nationwide as a leader in Title IX gender equity and leadership, ranks annually in the top 10 in diversity and students' social mobility, and offers an unrivaled student-athlete experience that features the ideal combination of a major university with Division I athletics, located in a true college town.

With approximately 700 student-athletes, UC Davis sponsors 25 NCAA Division I varsity teams. The Aggies athletic teams compete primarily as members of the Big West Conference with additional sports in the Big Sky Conference (football only), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Western Water Polo Association, America East (field hockey), and Eastern College Athletic Conference (equestrian).

The Aggies have won numerous team conference championships and/or NCAA tournament/playoff appearances in their short twelve year history at the Division I level, including baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s golf, gymnastics, women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s track and field, men’s water polo, and women’s water polo. UC Davis has also had numerous individual conference titles and NCAA appearances in men’s cross-country, women’s cross-country, gymnastics, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s swimming and diving, men’s track and field and women’s track and field.  For the 12th time in the last 13 years, the Aggies posted the highest GSR (92 pct.) in the Big West Conference. In the most recent Division I Academic Performance Program report, eight Aggies teams had GSRs of 100 percent, including: field hockey, men's golf, men's tennis, men's water polo, women's golf, women's swimming and diving, women's tennis, and women's water polo.

Reporting to Chancellor Gary May, the director of athletics will be expected to lead a highly dedicated and experienced team of 150 coaches and staff. The incoming director will be expected to manage a balanced budget of approximately $39 million while working creatively to identify new resources that support all 25 men's and women's athletic programs. The successful candidate will represent and advocate for the athletic department on campus, within the community, and across the nation. The director should be knowledgeable and up to date on local, national, and industry trends, such as the California Fair Pay for Play Act (NIL reform), funding models, pending NCAA lawsuits, as well as NCAA transfer and compliance issues, among others. The director will be expected to articulate a clear vision and strategy for the athletic department that builds on its existing upward momentum while ensuring it is closely aligned with the strategic plan and goals of the university. The director will collaborate with campus stakeholders to ensure a positive overall student-athlete experience by developing and fostering the Aggie EVO program, which provides significant resources and a vast network of working professionals to ensure post-graduation success for its student-athletes. It will be important for the next AD to lead, develop, and uphold current initiatives and strategies that support and inspire diversity, equity, and inclusion. The director will be expected to build relationships with the student body, alumni, donors, fans, industry executives, and other stakeholders to advance the department's goals and objectives by creating awareness and ultimately generating resources and support for department priorities.

Competitive candidates should demonstrate experience and a commitment toward supporting a premier student-athlete experience within a campus community that values strong academic and athletic excellence. The next director of athletics should demonstrate, and set a high standard for, performance, quality, credibility, transparency, and integrity. The next director should be a hands-on and accessible administrator and leader with strong interpersonal skills and a willingness to collaborate and actively engage with a broad group of constituencies in the support of the mission and goals of the athletic department and the university.

For more information on UC Davis athletics, please visit

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile. WittKieffer is assisting University of California, Davis in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by February 12. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Jeff Compher, Kim Brettschneider, and Horace Mitchell, Ph.D.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.  The complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy is available online.