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ASU names Lisa Love vice president for athletics

Love will begin her duties with the Sun Devils July 1

Lisa Love

Arizona State University President Michael Crow has selected Lisa Love of the University of Southern California (USC) to serve as the new Vice President for University Athletics.

Love, who becomes ASU’s 21st athletic director, will take over for Christine Wilkinson, who is a senior vice president for the university and had been serving as interim athletic director since April 8. Former athletic director Gene Smith left the university April 8 for a similar post at Ohio State University. Love will begin her new role on July 1.

Love has served as the senior associate athletics director at USC since 2002. She handles day-to-day supervision of eight sports – including women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving – and monitors all women’s sports at the university. She is active in the department’s strategic planning, gender equity, civil rights and NCAA certification issues, and she serves on the NCAA Management Council. Love led a very successful volleyball program as USC’s Head Volleyball Coach. She also served two stints (1992-1993 and 2001-2002) as vice president of the Pac-10 Conference.

ASU President Michael Crow says Love brings qualities and experience that will carry ASU’s Athletic Department to championships and excellence.

“We conducted an extensive search through an excellent pool of national candidates and interviewed many candidates including several sitting athletic directors of BCS Conference schools,” Crow says. “Lisa was our first choice. Lisa has the energy, competitiveness and drive to move ASU’s Athletic Department into the next level. Her philosophy for success will be instrumental in building ASU’s Athletic Department through student achievement, community engagement and winning.”

Love says her experience and President Crow’s vision for the university will serve as her foundation as she steps into her new role at ASU.

“I’ve been involved for the past 15 years, in turning around the athletic program at USC,” Love says. “I know what it takes to build a champion. Acknowledging the importance of fundraising, student achievement while complying with the appropriate rules, and the pursuit of winning championships are all key factors to having a successful athletic program.”

Love plans to establish model programs at ASU by embracing the traditions of ASU and aggressively pursuing championships.

"Having been involved with a competitor of Arizona State University, I am well-aware of the talented people who work in the Athletic Department and the tradition they bring to this university’s sports program," she says. "In order to make this an ideal program, we will need the leadership of our master teachers - our coaches - and the achievement, both on the field and in the classroom, of our student athletes."

Community members, university representatives, as well as athletic opponents applaud the selection of Love as ASU’s new Vice President of Athletics.

"It’s a great selection and she has been a strong contributor to the success of USC," says Pete Carroll, head football coach at USC. "She really understands the world of coaching and she has played a key role in the success of our program."

"Arizona State made a great pick," says Mike Garrett, USC Athletic Director. "Lisa will knock everyone’s socks off. I see nothing but success for her at Arizona State. She’s a great communicator and a real people’s person. She'll pick great coaches and employees and she'll manage that department in a way that people will feel very good about being at Arizona State."

“It’s a great hire,” Ed Robson, CEO of Robson Communities and a member of the Sun Angel Board, says. “She comes from a great program at USC and she helped build that program. She is a winner with a lot of energy and dedication.”

“I spent three years coaching with Lisa at USC," says Randy Lein, ASU Men’s Golf Coach. “She is a genuinely good person. When I heard her name, I knew she’d be a great hire. I’m very excited and happy it worked out for her.”

At ASU, Love will serve as the senior administrative officer of the university’s athletic program and will report directly to Crow. The program includes 12 women’s and 10 men’s sports including men’s and women’s basketball, golf, swimming/diving, tennis and track/field and cross country; women’s gymnastics, soccer, softball, volleyball, and water polo; men’s baseball, football, and wrestling.

Love will be responsible for the management and development on one of the finest and most comprehensive athletics facilities in the nation, playing host to nearly 1 million patrons each year. ASU’s athletics staff includes more than 180 full-time and part-time coaches, administrative and support personnel who provide services to about 500 student-athletes.

Love will also be expected to maintain a high level of success for the department in the classroom, as well as that on the playing field. Forty-two ASU student-athletes were honored as All-Americans in 2003 - 2004, while seven were named Academic All-Americans. During the current year, 58 percent of ASU’s 500 student-athletes were honored for achieving either a semester or cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Forty-two percent of all student-athletes had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above after spring 2004.

Love served from 1989  – 98 as the head volleyball coach at USC and from 1991-2001 as associate athletics director. As coach, she led the squad to a 205-93 record, nine NCAA tournament berths and eight finishes in the national Top 15. She was the Pac-10 co-coach of the year in 1997. She also earned national coach of year honors in 1998 while at the University of Texas-Arlington.

Love holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Texas Tech University, where she was an all-region performer on the volleyball team. She earned a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas.

ASU finished No. 17 in the Directors Cup, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics’ annual ranking of athletic departments, in 2003-04 and is listed No. 11 (as of April 7) for 2004-05. At the same time, 17 of 22 teams competed in postseason competition last year, while at least 17 are expected to extend their seasons again in 2004-05. ASU is privileged to have a tremendous group of coaches who thrive on the challenge of excellence in their sports.

The sports department, already boasting one of the finest athletics complexes in the nation, has embarked on a facilities expansion program to upgrade and expand the present venues. Most recently completed was a state-of-the-art wrestling facility. Online for the next phase (to be completed in this summer) is a Hall of Fame that will be housed within the Carson Student-Athlete Complex, and practice venues for volleyball and gymnastics. Additionally, improvements to Wells Fargo Arena and Sun Devil Stadium are in the very early stages of discussion. Upon completion of these projects, all sports teams will have practice and competitive sites within the 250-acre athletics complex.

To fund these program enhancements, an increase in ICA annual budgets and expansion of the capital campaign will be needed. The department exceeded its previous capital campaign goal of $20 million – and with giving commitments and opportunities in place, the completion of these projects is very realistic. In the program area, a deficit of $2 million in fiscal year 1996 has been eliminated, and budgets were increased in 2000. The Sun Angel Foundation, a financial support organization, views as its charge the funding of even greater opportunities for program and facility expansion, scholarships and services.

April 25, 2005


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