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Update: ETSU athletic director Mullins out; interim named

January 14th, 2013 10:02 am by Rex Barber

Update: ETSU athletic director Mullins out; interim named

Citing a desire to change direction but still be involved in East Tennessee State University athletics programs, Dave Mullins, intercollegiate athletics director at the school, said he will step down Wednesday and take a new fundraising position.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s former athletic director Richard Sander has been named to the top athletic post in an interim capacity until a permanent candidate is chosen. Mullins will retire in June but continue fundraising work as needed.
“I think over the last year and a half or so I’ve tried to sort of assess things and reassess things and decide, you know, what I want to do in the future, both near and far range future,” said Mullins, 66, who added he has been working 44 years for the Tennessee Board of Regents.
According to a news release from ETSU, Mullins is the longest tenured AD in the program’s Division I era. He will become a special assistant to the president for athletics, a position which will focus on fund raising and facility development by coordinating efforts between the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association, athletic corporate development, and ETSU’s alumni and advancement offices.
ETSU said in a news release, Mullins has spent the last 11 seasons as the program’s director of intercollegiate athletics. He previously coached the ETSU men’s tennis team from 1987 to 2002, but was appointed as the athletic program’s interim AD back on Dec. 20, 2002 following the departure of Todd Stansbury. ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. later formally named Mullins the program’s 17th director of intercollegiate athletics on April 14, 2003.
Despite retiring, Mullins said he wanted to still be a part of the work to do in ETSU athletics.
Mullins said he was proud of helping change the culture of the athletic department at ETSU from a “poverty mentality” to one that develops relationships, generates strong fundraising connections, that encourages good staff members who want to stay in their jobs and places importance on new facilities.
New athletics facilities built in the past decade and those yet to come were highlighted by Mullins in a news conference Monday afternoon. He said he was proud of the new golf facility, the new softball field, the new baseball stadium and the new soccer stadium.
Mullins said an indoor tennis court is planned, as is a second phase for the recently completed baseball stadium. Besides those projects, ETSU has plans for a basketball arena.
All of that will require fundraising, which fits with Mullins’ new position at the university.
He said he will also help in fundraising for a possible return of football. ETSU President Brian Noland announced in December that the school would look at a possible return of that sport. The last season of football at ETSU was 2003.
“And we know that if we do begin a new football program, or when we do, that’s going to take more funding, it’s going to take a new facility, not only a competitive facility — you’ve got to have offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms,” he said. “And then it’s going to take more administrative support and training room and sports information and compliance and academic support. And all those things take money.”
All this will require planning too. Mullins hopes to be involved in that process when the time comes.
“I’ll help however I can. I’m a team guy and I’ll help however I’m needed.”
Mullins said he has known Richard Sander a long time and said he is a friend.
“Dick is a guy of high integrity,” Mullins said. “He went to VCU 23 years ago when they were largely a commuter school, relatively unknown.”
Sander was instrumental in getting that school’s new arena built and building the basketball program to what it is today, Mullins said..
“And so he’s been through, kind of the process we’re going through,” Mullins said. “He’s a very thoughtful person. He’s very well connected. He’s a low-ego guy. He’s not in it for himself.”
Mullins will officially retire from his full time role at the institution on June 30, and will continue in his new position from that point forward.

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Below is an earlier post about Mullins' retirement:
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Virginia Commonwealth University's former athletic director has been named to the top athletic post in an interim capacity at East Tennessee State University.
Keep checking JohnsonCityPress.com for more information on this developing story.
The following is a news release from ETSU on the athletic director change:

Current ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins announced Monday that he will be moving from his current role at the university and taking a new position within the institution effective Jan. 16, 2013.

Mullins – who is the longest tenured AD in the program’s Division I era – will become a special assistant to the president for athletics, a position which will focus on fund raising and facility development by coordinating efforts between the Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association, athletic corporate development, and ETSU’s alumni and advancement offices.

He will officially retire from his full time role at the institution on June 30, and will continue in his new position from that point forward.

“For the last 10 years, I have had the privilege of serving ETSU as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, following my 15 plus years as head tennis coach. I am extremely proud of the positive changes, growth and successes that our student-athletes, coaches, and administrative team have accomplished,” Mullins said. “I was both honored and humbled by Dr. Stanton's confidence that I could help change the culture of our department, establish an across-the-board championship program, and lead a much-needed and long-overdue capital development plan for facilities. With great collaboration with vice presidents like Dr. Wayne Andrews, Dr. Wilsie Bishop, Dr. Bert Bach, and Dr. David Collins, we have made significant progress.

“But there is still much to accomplish for ETSU to become the nationally-recognized brand that we all envision. During the past year, I have appreciated the new energy and vision that Dr. Noland has brought to our campus. He and I have had numerous conversations, particularly during the last four months, about a larger and more strategic role that I can play in assisting him in the planning and implementation of the Committee for 125’s vision for the future. Our athletics goals are going to involve even more facility development and significantly greater financial support.

“He has offered and I have accepted the position of special assistant to the president for athletics. In my new role, he and I can focus on these priorities and work with our students, BASA, the ETSU Foundation and Alumni Office, corporate leaders and the community, to accomplish our goals. Our future is bright and I look forward to being a part of our future successes in my new role.”

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland said ETSU is grateful for Mullins’ efforts throughout his time at the institution.

“I congratulate Dave on his retirement and on his many accomplishments during his tenure, both as a coach and as an administrator, with Intercollegiate Athletics,” Noland said. “Coach Mullins guided our program through an era of significant growth, and he was deeply committed to helping our student-athletes be successful, both on the courts and playing fields as well as in their academic pursuits. It is noteworthy that upon Dave’s retirement, ETSU student-athletes have one of the highest overall GPAs in our conference.

“I look forward to working with Dave in this new role.”

Noland also announced that former Virginia Commonwealth University Director of Athletics Dr. Richard Sander will serve as the program’s interim director of intercollegiate athletics in the near term during a yet-to-be-determined transition period.

Having worked for over 44 years in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, Mullins has spent the last 11 seasons as the program’s director of intercollegiate athletics. He previously coached the ETSU men’s tennis team from 1987 to 2002, but was appointed as the athletic program’s interim AD back on Dec. 20, 2002 following the departure of Todd Stansbury. ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. later formally named Mullins the program’s 17th director of intercollegiate athletics on April 14, 2003.

Mullins said he has been grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity at ETSU and is proud of the accomplishments of the program’s student-athletes, coaches and staff.

“We have hired and developed a very stable, professional and passionate administrative staff who have taken great pride in doing business the right way; we have attracted extremely talented and motivated coaches who have won 45 regular season and tournament championships and qualified for 25 NCAA Tournaments in 13 of our 17 sports – several multiple times – over the last 11 seasons,” said Mullins, who was named the NACDA Division I Athletic Director of the Year in 2010. “Our student-athletes know they can compete for championships and achieve outstanding academic success while having a positive collegiate experience.

“Together, our administrative and coaching team has been able to gain the support of our alumni, BASA members, community fans and corporate leaders to raise more revenue than ever to fully fund our scholarships, complete our gender equity plan, and build state-of-the-art facilities. Summers-Taylor Stadium (Soccer), Betty Basler Field (Softball), the new Thomas Stadium (baseball), Warren-Greene Golf Center (golf) and our new outdoor tennis complex have created the kinds of practice and competitive venues our programs deserve. The major renovations to Brooks Gym for volleyball and the new basketball improvements with the arena lights, video tables, practice facility and upgraded seating have vastly improved our ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.”

Mullins, who initially brought Sander to Johnson City to help assist with the on-going Committee for 125 process, said the program will be in good hands during the transition.

“During the 125 process, I enlisted the assistance of my long-time friend and colleague Dick Sander, a 23-year AD at VCU, to assist us in evaluating our program, gathering data, developing a strategic vision, and putting together a plan,” Mullins said. “His experience and expertise have been invaluable. I know our staff and supporters will enjoy getting to know him and working with him.”

For more on ETSU athletics, visit ETSUBucs.com.

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