Schmidt wins Athletic Director of Year award


UIC has earned 77 conference championships and 48 NCAA appearances under Jim Schmidt’s leadership. Photo: Steve Woltmann

UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt was selected for the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award, given to 28 athletic directors nationwide.

Schmidt, one of four winners in Division 1 AAA, will receive the award June 17 at the annual convention of the National Association of Collegiate Directors in Orlando.

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments from our 20 programs and the student athletes who excel both academically and athletically,” Schmidt said. “Our excellent coaches, staff and student athletes from the past and current have made UIC’s consistent success possible.”

Now in his 20th season as athletic director, Schmidt is the longest-serving athletic director in the Horizon League.

During that time, UIC has earned 77 conference championships and 48 NCAA appearances. UIC’s 82 percent graduation rate far exceeds the national average of 59 percent; over the last six semesters, Flames student athletes earned an average 3.0 GPA. Two women’s teams, golf and soccer, were added.

Schmidt helped secure $5 million from UIC graduate and current New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson to partially fund Curtis Granderson Stadium, an award-winning ballpark on South Campus. The donation is the largest one-time gift from a pro athlete back to his or her alma mater.

Schmidt also finalized a capital campaign plan for a $7 million soccer stadium.

Other award winners include Vic Cegles of Long Beach State, Hofstra University’s Jeff Hathaway and Creighton’s Bruce Rasmussen.

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