Updated: February 12, 2013 2:33PM
Aurora University Thursday morning announced it has hired James Hamad, currently associate director of athletics for student development at Pepperdine University, as its new athletic director.
Hamad will join the university in late February, AU officials said.
Hamad has held a number of leadership positions in Division I collegiate athletics over the past decade, including roles at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Akron.
At Pepperdine, in Malibu, Calif., he revamped the academic support system for the athletics program, which has led to the highest graduation success rate among Southern California Division I institutions, and has been part of an athletics administration that won 17 conference championships, AU said in its announcement.
Hamad also has been involved with the National Football League-N4A Advisory Committee, which creates degree-completion opportunities for college non-graduates who have pursued a professional sports career.
“Athletics is an integral part of the community at Aurora University, and I commend the outstanding work of my predecessors. I look forward to starting the next chapter of Spartan athletics,” Hamad said in the release.
Aurora University Provost Andrew Manion said Hamad “impressed everyone here with his combination of professional background and NCAA experience, expertise and enthusiasm.”
Hamad received a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s from the University of Akron.
He succeeds Mark Walsh, who retired from AU last summer and was granted the status of Athletic Director Emeritus.
Shaun Neitzel, who has served as interim athletic director since August, has been named dean of student life for the university. In this new role, Neitzel will oversee student life, student organizations and residence life.
The university also announced that Lane Stahl, currently assistant baseball coach, will be promoted to head baseball coach.