Northwestern University Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips has been selected as one of four Under Armour Athletic Directors of the Year in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced.
"In the 18-year history of this program, we have honored over 400 directors of athletics from each segment of the NACDA membership," said Bob Vecchione, NACDA Executive Director. "I would like to congratulate the 2015-16 Under Armour ADOY class of award winners, and look forward to continuing this tradition of honoring the outstanding leadership in our profession for many years to come."
"The Athletics Director of the Year Award honors those men and women who are visionary leaders in college athletics," said Nick Carparelli, Under Armour senior director of college sports. "Under Armour is proud to partner with NACDA to facilitate this recognition for the top athletics directors across all divisions."
During Phillips' tenure the Wildcats have been national leaders in all academic metrics, and set records in the classroom institutionally. Northwestern's 507 student-athletes combined for a record 3.29 grade point average in the fall, and a school-record 15 of Northwestern's 19 varsity athletic programs received Public Recognition Awards in 2015 as part of the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate program, the highest total in both Northwestern and Big Ten Conference history.
Northwestern student-athletes have achieved 100 percent participation in community service and combined to dedicate more than 5,500 hours of service to the Evanston and Chicago communities over the last year.
In competition, Northwestern has achieved historic success. During Phillips' time in Evanston, women's lacrosse, softball, men's golf, women's golf, women's fencing, men's soccer, women's tennis, field hockey and wrestling all have won team or individual conference championships. Wildcats football has reached a program-record 10 wins in two of the last four seasons.
Northwestern has seen unprecedented facilities growth under Phillips' leadership, particularly over the last year. In November 2015, NU broke ground on Ryan Fieldhouse and the Walter Athletics Center, part of a transformational lakefront complex featuring a large, indoor multipurpose facility as well as a new home for academic support services, a nutrition and dining facility, a sports performance center and athletic training and sports medicine facilities.
In addition, competition venues for soccer, lacrosse and baseball have been completely overhauled in the last year. Lanny and Sharon Martin Stadium for lacrosse and soccer, and the new Rocky & Berenice Miller Park for baseball, will both open this month.
Beyond his responsibilities in Evanston, Phillips was elected by his peers as the inaugural chairman of the NCAA Division I Council, and is the first-ever sitting athletic director to serve on the NCAA Board of Directors. He also is the immediate past president of NACDA.
All NACDA-member directors of athletics in the United States, Canada and Mexico who met the criteria were eligible for the award. Among the criteria were service as an AD for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD's institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, etc.), in which the institution could not have been on probation or cited for a lack of institutional control within the last five years during the tenure of the current athletics director.
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