Rockhurst University to Hire New Athletics Director

Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Baseball player swings the bat

Rockhurst University will begin the search for a new athletics director after the first of the year, allowing the current AD, Gary Burns, to focus on his role as head baseball coach and to assist the university’s advancement division with relationship building and fundraising. He will continue to serve as AD until June 30, 2021.

Burns was named athletics director in the fall of 2011 while continuing to serve as head baseball coach, a program Rockhurst reinstated after 17 years in 1993. With the notable growth in the Rockhurst University athletics department over the past decade, separating the roles again will increase the capacity of the AD to strengthen operational processes within the department as well as to invest in projects that have strategic and long-term implications for the University.

Under Burns’ leadership, Rockhurst added men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s cross country — and took the cheer and dance squads from club sports to competition-level teams. In addition, he played a major role in the creation of the Magis Activity Center (The MAC) — a new recreational facility that opened in 2019 — and stadium improvements to the Loyola Park baseball field and Bourke Field for soccer and lacrosse.

“Over the last decade the role of the NCAA Division II AD has become increasingly complex and time consuming,” said Matthew Quick, Ph.D., vice president for student development and athletics. “While Gary’s accomplishments during his tenure as AD are significant, this change will allow him to focus more fully on his first love — and give the baseball team the time and attention it needs from its head coach. In addition, he will be able to use his notable gifts in relationship building and communication with families, alumni and other Rockhurst fans to foster support for our athletic programs as well as the University as a whole.”

Rockhurst University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution with a rich athletics history. It moved from the NAIA to NCAA Division II athletics in 1998. It is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference and sponsors 15 teams with more than 450 student-athletes: baseball, softball, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis and men’s and women’s cross country.

The Hawks have boasted 56 NCAA tournament teams, producing national quarterfinal and semifinal teams in men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s tennis and baseball. Since joining the GLVC in 2005, the Hawks have won 29 conference titles and garnered 11 GLVC Player of the

Year honors. 2016-17 also saw the Hawks earn their first-ever GLVC Commissioner’s Cup, grading the best schools in the league based on seven core sports. For the 10th consecutive year, Rockhurst received the NCAA Presidents’ Award for Academic Excellence for achieving four-year Academic Success Rates of 90 percent or higher