Greenspan named Rice's new athletics director
succeeds Chris Del Conte
March 12, 2010
HOUSTON -- (March 12, 2010) -- Rick Greenspan, who has led successful athletics programs, facilities construction and fundraising campaigns as athletics director at Indiana University and West Point, has been named Rice University's new athletics director, President David Leebron announced today.
Greenspan succeeds Chris Del Conte, who left Rice in October 2009 to become athletics director at Texas Christian University.
"Athletics at Rice comes with a set of values and expectations that is both rewarding and challenging," Leebron said. "Rick Greenspan shares those expectations and values, and he brings a broad and ambitious vision for intercollegiate athletics to Rice. He fully understands what makes our university and athletics programs unique -- we want success in the classroom and on the field -- and he is exactly the right leader to make them even more successful."
Greenspan has 30 years of administrative and managerial experience in intercollegiate athletics, physical education and recreation at public and private universities. He said that experience has made him familiar with athletics programs across the country and impressed with Rice.
"Rice is world-class, with top-caliber student-athletes and coaches, great sports and recreational facilities, a gorgeous campus and a reputation as one of the best research universities in the country," he said. "Taken together, this is a winning proposition, and I am thrilled by the opportunity to lead its athletics programs into even higher levels of accomplishment."
Rice's Senior Executive Athletics Director David Sayler has been serving as interim director.
"David worked closely with Chris Del Conte to transform several of our athletics facilities into some of the best in the country, hire some great coaches and recruit talented athletes who can indeed succeed in both the classroom and on the field," Leebron said. "His steady hand as interim director is very much valued and appreciated."
Indiana captured eight individual or team national titles during Greenspan's tenure from 2004 to 2008. He oversaw a 24-sport NCAA Division IA intercollegiate athletics program with a $53 million operating budget, nearly 700 student-athletes and a coaching and administrative staff of more than 175. He organized the university's first comprehensive capital campaign, which increased annual giving by 41 percent and raised $65 million toward the $80 million goal by the midpoint, and led the construction of numerous new athletics structures and refurbished outdated facilities.
"Without question, Rick Greenspan was far and away the most capable, competent and professional athletic director with whom I have worked," said Patrick Shoulders, vice president of the Indiana University Board of Trustees. "During his time at IU, Rick exemplified what is best about college sports -- focus on the success of student-athletes, competitive programs, strict compliance with the rules and great partnership with our academic endeavors."
From 1999 to 2004, Greenspan served as director of intercollegiate athletics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he managed a 25-sport NCAA Division IA intercollegiate athletics program with a $23 million budget and 800 student-athletes. His overhaul of the annual giving program resulted in a 300 percent increase in gifts and a doubling of the average gift. Under his leadership, 34 percent of all student-athletes made the dean's list. He also developed and funded an athletics facility master plan.
"Rick made enormous, even historic, contributions to our business operations and physical plant, and his marketing skills significantly expanded West Point's national athletic footprint," said retired Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, who served as superintendent of West Point with Greenspan. "He is a winning leader of impeccable character and integrity who will add to Rice University's long tradition of university excellence."
For the past year, Greenspan has worked as a consultant to numerous Division I schools in search processes for coaching and administrative vacancies. He also has lectured for and consulted with the NCAA Division IA Athletic Directors Association, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Association of Athletic Compliance Officers.
The Greenbelt, Md., native has also served as director of intercollegiate athletics at Illinois State University (1993-1999), senior associate athletics director at University of Miami (1992-1993), associate athletics director at University of California-Berkeley (1983-1991), recreational athletics coordinator at University of New Hampshire (1982-1983) and associate coordinator for the Klotsche Center for Physical Education and Recreation at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1979-1982).
Rice Dean of Undergraduates Robin Forman chaired the search committee for the new athletics director. He said the committee established a number of criteria for the candidates, including honesty and integrity; the ability to represent both the university and its athletics programs well; the experience and leadership skills to help Rice's student-athletes succeed academically, athletically, personally and professionally; and the potential to foster a communitywide sense of engagement with and excitement about athletics. The athletics director also oversees recreation and fitness programs for the university.
"Rick Greenspan met each of our criteria," Forman said. "In my talks with many people, Rick was consistently referred to as a man of great integrity, a great family man and someone who at the core is just a really good person. The committee felt that Rick will be very effective in leading Rice Athletics in a way we can be proud of and enthusiastic about."
Greenspan has a master's degree in physical education and athletic administration from Idaho State University, where he graduated summa cum laude. He has a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from the University of Maryland-College Park, where he was a four-year letter winner in baseball.
Greenspan and his wife, Jenny, have been married 31 years. They have two grown children: Emily, 28, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, and Ben, 26, a graduate of Indiana University.
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What they're saying about Rick Greenspan
"Rick made enormous, even historic, contributions to our business operations and physical plant, and his marketing skills significantly expanded West Point's national athletic footprint. He is a winning leader of impeccable character and integrity who will add to Rice University's long tradition of university excellence."
Retired lieutenant general, U.S. Army
United States Military Academy
"Integrity. Passionate. Boundless enthusiasm. Cool and courageous regardless of adversity. A willingness to put others before self. The ultimate class act. These are the characteristics that best describe Rick Greenspan. You have heard the term 'player's coach,' an influential icon that cares for each player and challenges his team to go beyond the expected. Mr. Greenspan is definitely a player's athletic director."
Kicker for the Indiana University football team, 2004-2008
"The most noteworthy attribute of Rick's style is that he looks beyond wins and losses. He definitely takes the C.A.B. approach in his mentoring of student-athletes and coaches, meaning that he emphasizes character first, then academics and finally basketball or any sport. He supports his coaches with a strong passion and works closely with them without micromanaging. He builds strong relationships which allow programs to really stretch and become nationally known."
Indiana University women's basketball
"Rick Greenspan is a pinnacle player within the college athletics community. He is a highly seasoned, selfless leader that has always exhibited inordinate grace, courage and resolve. Rick Greenspan is a `world-class' hire!"
Director of athletics
"Someone who keeps the student-athlete at the forefront of his decision-making process. Someone who is passionate about helping young people, furthering and enhancing the mission of the institution through athletics and helping these young people become lifelong learners and contributors to society."
Managing director, administration and business affairs
United States Tennis Association Player Development
"Rick is an experienced administrator with proven leadership skills. He is well-respected by athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners across the country. He will fit in very well with the Rice community."
Rice University men's basketball
"You hired a great man. Rick Greenspan is highly regarded throughout the Big Ten conference. Rick is a pro and will do an outstanding job at Rice University."
Director of athletics
University of Wisconsin
"Rick Greenspan is a talented athletics director who made a positive difference at West Point. The outstanding facilities that he planned, raised funds for and began to build are one of the best legacies of his tenure. He also understood and appreciated the demands on cadet-athletes and supported the aims and goals of West Point, which might sometimes be at odds with the demands of big-time college athletics at other institutions."
Brigadier general, U.S. Army
Dean of the academic board
United States Military Academy
"Without question, Rick Greenspan was far and away the most capable, competent and professional athletic director with whom I have worked. During his time at IU, Rick exemplified what is best about college sports -- focus on the success of student-athletes, competitive programs, strict compliance with the rules and great partnership with our academic endeavors."
Indiana University Board of Trustees