GRAND FORKS, N.D. (undsports.com) - Bill Chaves is the next Athletics Director at the University of North Dakota, UND President Mark Kennedy announced Saturday, Jan. 13. Chaves, who becomes UND's 16th A.D., has been Director of Athletics at Eastern Washington University since 2007 and is a two-time recipient (2012-13 & 2015-16) of national Athletic Director of the Year honors.
At UND, Chaves will oversee the University's 17-sport NCAA Division I athletic program, which currently competes in the Big Sky Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Chaves succeeds Brian Faison, who retired Dec. 31 after nearly a decade of serving as UND Director of Athletics. Faison, who directed UND Athletics through enormous changes, will serve as a Special Advisor to UND Athletics through June 30, 2018.
"I am excited about the impact Bill Chaves' leadership will have on an already excellent Athletics program here at UND. I want to thank the Search Committee, chaired by Provost Tom DiLorenzo, for its excellent work. Thanks in part to a new law that protected the anonymity of the applicants, we had an excellent pool to choose from. We were pleased with the selection of the four candidates, which made it a challenging decision. We received excellent input from the forums, from those who attended interview sessions, and from the search committee members. All of the candidates fared well, but in the end Bill was a notch ahead of the other candidates," said Kennedy.
"I would like to thank President Kennedy and the Search Committee for this tremendous opportunity. I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve as UND's next Athletics Director. My family and I are excited to become active members of the UND family and the Grand Forks community, both of which we have heard so much about. Together, I am confident we will continue UND's tradition of academic and athletic excellence," said Chaves.
Bill Chaves has served as Director of Athletics at Eastern Washington University since 2007 and is a two-time recipient (2012-13 & 2015-16) of national Athletic Director of the Year honors. Chaves' tenure at Eastern was highlighted by the installation of the first-ever red synthetic surface in America.
Under Chaves' direction, EWU's football program won its final 11 games of the 2010 season and captured the NCAA Division I Championship. The football program has won five Big Sky titles during his tenure, while qualifying for the FCS playoffs six times and advancing to the semifinals four times.
Chaves led several key fundraising initiatives to help the athletic department grow and keep pace with other NCAA Division I programs. As part of a $1.1 million project, EWU installed a new videoboard/scoreboards at Roos Field and Reese Court. In addition, an enhanced seating project at Reese Court provided upgrades for fans. Eastern also completed a $1.5 million locker-room project, enhancing eight of EWU's 14 programs.
Currently, Eastern's fundraising arm, Eagle Athletic Fund (EAF), is at an all-time high in both members and dollars. Chaves negotiated a recent eight-year deal with Learfield Sports as well as an all-department apparel deal with Adidas.
Eastern's student-athletes have also shown impressive success, with a collective grade point average of 3.47 and a greater than 3.0 GPA for 31 straight quarters (since Fall 2007). During Chaves' tenure, Eastern won three Big Sky President's Cups (2009-10, 2014-15 and 2015-16) – the first such award(s) in school history.
The women's basketball program won the Big Sky regular-season title in the 2009-10 school year, and has appeared in three WNIT Tournaments (2010-2013-2015) – winning its first-ever national postseason game in 2015. The team also made a WBI appearance in 2017, winning its second postseason game all-time.
The men's basketball team made its second all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2015 by winning the Big Sky Tournament. In 2016, the men's program won its first-ever postseason game as a member of NCAA Division I. The program made another postseason appearance (CBI) in 2017. In Chaves' second year at the helm, Eastern's volleyball program won the Big Sky regular season title. EWU's women's soccer team has made back-to-back NCAA appearances (2016 and 2017).
Chaves and his wife of 23 years, Liz, have a daughter, Erin (17), and two sons, Derek (14) and Kevin (12).
The UND Athletics Department currently houses 17 intercollegiate teams with 16 of those competing as Big Sky members for the final season.
A year ago, UND captured its first Big Sky Conference President's Cup, which recognizes the league's top all-around program based on both academic and on-field successes. The women's volleyball team, the football team and both the men's and women's basketball programs all won Big Sky Championships in 2016-17, marking the first time that occurred in league history in the same season.
The men's hockey program, which has won eight NCAA Division I National Championships, competes in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and is annually one of the premier programs in the country.
Fifteen of UND's programs will transition to the Summit League this summer, while the football program will operate as an independent during the 2018 and 2019 seasons before joining the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020.
All sports besides men's hockey at UND transitioned to the Division I level prior to the 2008-09 season after decades of success at the DII level. The women's basketball program won three National Championships at that level and the football program won the DII National Championship in 2001.
A List of UND's All-Time Athletic Directors
(Source: Adapted from UND Athletics archives and A Century of U.N.D. Sports, An Athletic History of the University of North Dakota)
* Walter Hempel, Jan. 1-June 30, 1903
* Dr. George J. Sweetland Jr., 1904-08
* Dr. David L. Dunlap, 1908-12
* Charles E. Armstrong, 1912-13
* Fred L. Thompson, 1913-18
* Paul Jones Davis, 1919-28
* Charles A. "Jack" West, 1928-46
* Glenn L. "Red" Jarrett, 1946-58
* Leonard R. "Len" Marti, 1958-76
* Dr. Carl R. Miller, 1976-85
* John F. "Gino" Gasparini, Oct. 4, 1985-June 30, 1990
* Dr. Terry Wanless, Nov. 1, 1990-June 30, 1999
* Roger Thomas, July 1, 1999-Feb. 18, 2005
* Tom Buning, July 1, 2005-2007.
* Brian Faison, May 2008-Dec. 31, 2017
* William "Bill" Chaves Jr., 2018 -
Note: UND has had three interim athletic directors: Dr. M. Helen Smiley (May 15, 1988-Oct. 4, 1988), David C. Gunther (June 30, 1990-Oct. 31, 1990), and Phil Harmeson (Feb. 18, 2005-July 2005). Also, Lt. Charles S. Farnsworth, 1894-1897, and Dr. Melvin A. Brannon, 1896-1903, both carried out administrative duties of an athletic director, but neither carried that title.