|Title:||Director of Athletics|
|College:||St. Mary's (Minn.), 1992|
Tom Wistrcill is in his fourth year as Director of Athletics at
The University of Akron.
Among the many highlights during his tenure is the men’s soccer program winning the University’s first team national championship in any sport in December 2010 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The department also earned the Mid-American Conference’s Institutional Academic Achievement Award for the 2010-11 academic year when UA’s 400-plus student-athletes achieved a 3.14 cumulative grade-point average.
The 2010-11 athletic year truly was one for the ages at UA, as the Zips tied a program record with five MAC championships, and eight Akron student-athletes earned All-America status. The men’s basketball team memorably defeated rival Kent State in overtime by blocking two shots in the final seconds to capture its second MAC title in three seasons. The Zips then fell to Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2011-12, Zips Athletics claimed six conference championships – men’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s tennis, and mixed rifle. The men's basketball team again competed in the MAC tournament championship game, while the men's soccer program advanced to the round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Additionally, over the last three years the Z-Fund, the department’s development branch, has set new highs for fundraising, and sponsorship and licensing dollars also logged record numbers.
In July 2011, the Zips received national recognition for its efficiency when UA was named the national champion of the Excellence in Management Cup, presented by Texas A&M's Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Cup quantitatively evaluates NCAA Division I athletic departments' return on investment by utilizing a formula that weighs conference and national championships in comparison to the department's annual overall budget.
Wistrcill’s first year at the post also had no shortage of excitement, as many of UA sports programs established new levels of excellence in 2009-10. Men’s soccer earned the No. 1 ranking in the country, reaching the national championship game undefeated and untied. Women’s soccer captured its first Mid-American Conference East Division crown. Rifle won conference titles in the smallbore and air rifle events. Women’s basketball set a program record for wins and qualified for postseason play for just the second time in its 36-year history. Men’s basketball advanced to the MAC championship game for a fourth-consecutive season. Women’s tennis, victorious in its first 15 matches, was the last undefeated team in Division I.
Additionally during 2009-10, head coaches of four major programs made long-term commitments to UA. Keith Dambrot in men’s basketball, Jodi Kest in women’s basketball and Caleb Porter in men’s soccer each signed contract extensions. In 2010, Brandon Padgett was hired as the women's tennis head coach. Wistrcill also added two new head coaches – Rick Rembielak (baseball) and David Trainor (men’s golf) – to the staff in the summer of 2011. In December 2011, the University introduced Terry Bowden as its newest head coach for football.
The UA Department of Athletics has grown on the construction front as well during Wistrcill’s tenure, with the renovation of newly renamed FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field, formerly Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field. Thanks to fundraising efforts, improvements to the soccer facility included the addition of a new playing surface, lights and reserved chair-back and bleacher-back seating for more than 600 in 2010, when Akron finished second nationally for average attendance in men's soccer. An additional 336 bleacher-back seats, permanent restrooms and a ticket and concessions stand are being added in 2011. Rhodes Arena also saw upgrades during the summer of 2011, as the men’s and women’s basketball programs each received new team lounges equipped with large flat-screen televisions, couches, team video equipment, study areas and a kitchenette. In addition, a new 1,850-square-foot weight room was added to the arena for the basketball, women’s tennis and volleyball squads.
University President Dr. Luis M. Proenza introduced Wistrcill to the Akron community at a press conference on Aug. 25, 2009, and he began working at UA two weeks later.
Before joining Akron, Wistrcill served as Senior Associate Athletics Director at the University of Minnesota for three years. He brings a wealth of experience in intercollegiate athletics, not the least of which includes the 2009 grand opening of a $288 million, 51,000-seat football stadium. UM opened TCF Bank Stadium on September 12, 2009, the same day UA opened InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field. UA and UM were the only NCAA Division I universities to open new football stadiums in 2009.
Wistrcill’s experience also includes marketing, sales, media relations and management, particularly in the Big Ten Conference. Prior to joining Minnesota, Wistrcill held the position of General Manager of Badger Sports Properties at the University of Wisconsin, where he was responsible for managing $8 million in sales and marketing ventures for the Wisconsin athletics department. He developed and implemented several major first-time sponsorships at Wisconsin, including the development of the Badger Radio Network through Learfield Communications, which owns Badger Sports Properties.
Wistrcill served as commissioner of two NCAA Division II conferences, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, from 1994-2000. He also served as vice president of sales and marketing for VarsityOnline.com and is a former general manager of the St. Louis Quest, a franchise in the Women’s Professional Volleyball League.
Wistrcill, 42, received his bachelor’s degree in media communications in 1992 from St. Mary’s University (Minn.), where he captained the men’s basketball team. He earned a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in 1996. Tom and his wife, Kelly, have two sons, J.T. and Jack.