College sports: Mississippi St.'s Stricklin to be Florida's new AD
Scott Stricklin has been named Athletic Director at the University of Florida, UF President Dr. Kent Fuchs announced on Tuesday.
Stricklin brings 28-plus years of experience in intercollegiate athletics to Gainesville, including the past six as athletic director at his alma mater, Mississippi State University. He will succeed Jeremy Foley, who has been Florida's athletic director for the past 25 years. Stricklin, who will be the Gators' 14th athletic director, begins at UF on Nov. 1. Foley will continue on the job until that date.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity at Florida," Stricklin said. "I'm an SEC guy. I understand the position Florida holds in college athletics. I'm excited to come and be part of the department. It's a great staff here to work with. I love college towns. The opportunity to come and get invested in another community, with my family, you start balancing all that and you understand at this point in my career, this is an opportunity you just can't not do."
|2010-Present||Mississippi State||Athletic Director|
|2008-2010||Mississippi State||External Affairs|
|1999-2003||Baylor||Communications and Marketing|
|1990-1992||Mississippi State||Media Relations (Baseball)|
"Scott Stricklin is a strong leader with tremendous experience who shares the University of Florida's most treasured values, from the success and well-being of our student athletes to excellence across the breadth of both men's and women's sports," Fuchs said. "We're confident that he will build on Jeremy Foley's legacy to take UF's program to even greater heights while leading the way in shaping the future of collegiate athletics nationally."
The Jackson, Mississippi, native, who has spent 23-plus years in the Southeastern Conference, spearheaded over $140 million in facility improvements while leading MSU, as well as significant increases in booster club membership and donations and the highest-ever Learfield Director's Cup finish in school history. MSU's student-athletes have also excelled academically under Stricklin's leadership, posting a combined 3.0 GPA in 2014-15, marking the highest in MSU's history.
"I couldn't have left for any other place but Florida" Stricklin said. "It's just a special place not only in the world of the SEC, but in college athletics because of the success they've had and the way they've had it with the integrity. Florida holds a leadership position in college athletics. And you look at the academic reputation, it's one of the best universities in the country. That's a pretty hard combination to not take the opportunity if it's offered to you."
Stricklin has earned praise for his performance, earning the 2015-16 Athletic Director of the Year Award from the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which highlights the efforts of athletic directors at all levels.
"I've known Scott on a personal and professional level for a long, long time," Foley said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Scott and what he has accomplished at Mississippi State and the other institutions where he has worked. Scott is a wonderful leader, and a great person. He has passion for student-athletes and loves working with and supporting coaches. Those two qualities alone make him a great fit for Florida.
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"Scott is about the right things and running the business the right way," Foley added. "I have the utmost confidence that Scott will help the Gators carry out our mission to provide a championship experience with integrity. We've sat in the room together at AD meetings for several years now, and I've seen firsthand that Scott brings a deep understanding and appreciation for what it takes to run a successful athletic program, particularly in the Southeastern Conference. I couldn't be more excited to have Scott serve as the next athletic director at the University of Florida."
A forward-thinking national and regional leader in the field of athletics administration, Stricklin serves as chair of the SEC's Working Group on Fan Experience and has served as the SEC's representative on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council. Stricklin is also known for his accessibility and interaction with fans on social media, particularly with his 55,000+ followers on Twitter.
"The president and the AD have to support the coaches and staff and they all have to work to support the student-athletes," Stricklin said. "If we're all doing a really good job, then the fans and student body are going to have a great experience. It's not everybody supporting me. My job is to help support all of them."
Stricklin's career path has traveled through five other Division I institutions, including three other Southeastern Conference schools, before UF.
Even prior to his graduation from MSU in 1992, Stricklin served as the media relations contact for the Bulldogs' baseball team. After staying on at his alma mater for a year in a full-time capacity following graduation, Stricklin moved on to Auburn University, where he was named associate media relations director, a position he held from 1993-98.
He then moved on to Tulane to become an assistant athletic director and the primary media contact for the Green Wave's football team before a four-year stint at Baylor from 1999-2003 as the Assistant AD for Communications and Marketing.
Stricklin then returned to the SEC, working at Associate AD for Media Relations at Kentucky from 2003-08, overseeing day-to-day publicity of Wildcat basketball. He returned to MSU in 2008 as Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs, overseeing fundraising, football and men's basketball scheduling, managing MSU's apparel agreement, facility planning and serving as the administrative sport liaison for men's basketball and softball.
After two years in that position, he was named the Bulldogs' AD following Greg Byrne's departure to the University of Arizona.
Stricklin, 46, is married to the former Anne Howell, the youngest daughter of Basketball Hall of Fame member Bailey Howell. She was a three-time All-Lone Star Conference team member, both for athletics and academics, when she played tennis at Abilene Christian. The couple has two daughters, Abby and Sophie.