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NAIA/Other 4-Year Institutions

June 13, 2011

Bill Ashby, University of Maine Fort Kent, Northeast

Bill Ashby has served as athletics director at the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) for five years and has not only established himself as an outstanding administrator, but a renowned soccer coach.

Ashby was named athletics director of the year by the Sunrise Conference in 2008-09 as he has helped build all of the athletics programs at UMFK into conference championship programs. Under Ashby's leadership the Bengals have captured 26 regular season and Sunrise Conference tournament championships in five years.

Ashby also introduced the NAIA Champions of Character Program at UMFK, which includes upholding the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. Ashby is active in establishing fundraising efforts to assists UMFK athletics. Ashby was instrumental in establishing the Athletic Hall of Fame at UMFK.

Rusty Hollingsworth, Campbellsville University, Southeast

Now in his 10th year as director of athletics at Campbellsville University, Rusty Hollingsworth has guided the athletics program to new heights with unwavering emphasis on the welfare of the student-athlete, as well as a commitment to academics and character development.

The athletics program was recognized in 2010 as a Five Star Champions of Character program by the NAIA.

In 2009-2010 the athletics department raised $1.2 million dollars for facility upgrades. During his tenure the athletics department has constructed an indoor practice facility, lighted tennis courts, the Gosser Gymnasium for wrestling, the Hawkins Athletic Complex and weight room and put turf and lights on the football stadium and lights on the baseball field. Hollingsworth has overseen the addition of five sports at Campbellsville and currently has 15 sports and 23 teams.

He served as the Region XI chair for the NAIA for four years prior to joining the National Administrative Council where he currently serves on the NAIA Rules and Rating committee. Hollingsworth served on the initial Champions of Character committee and has served two terms as the chair of the Mid-South Conference athletic directors. He was named the 2004 and 2010 Mid-South Conference AD of the Year.

Gary Picone, Lewis-Clark State College, West

Gary Picone has distinguished himself among outstanding athletics directors in the Frontier Conference as he leads Lewis-Clark State College for the second time in the last 18 years. He led the department from 1992-2000, and again from 2006-present.

Last year, Picone was honored as the Athletics Director Association (ADA) NAIA Athletics Director of the Year. Under his direction, Lewis-Clark State has undergone facility improvements, educational outreach to student-athletes, transformational fundraising for athletics and personal support from the community of Lewiston and the state of Idaho.

In each of the past two years, 11 sports have qualified teams or individuals to NAIA national tournaments, with the volleyball program winning four straight Frontier Conference regular season and tournament titles and the women's basketball team winning four straight FC tournament championships.

Picone helped bring the Avista NAIA World Series back to Lewiston and has overseen nearly $1 million in improvements to Harris Field, home of the Series. After serving as tournament director for the Series since 2006, he took over as head coach of the baseball program last fall. He represents the Frontier Conference on the National Administrative Council (NAC) and presented at NAIA Baseball Coaches Convention and the NAIA National Convention last year.

Thomas Smith, Missouri Baptist University, Central

Dr. Thomas Smith has impacted the Missouri Baptist University (MBU) community as a whole, overseeing tremendous growth, including 17 new athletic programs that have infused 400 additional student-athletes into campus life.

Now in his ninth year as director of athletics, Smith embraces the five Champions of Character values of the NAIA (Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Servant Leadership and Sportsmanship), raising the standards of being a "Spartan Athlete." He has led the department with his belief that collegiate athletics should be an extension of a student's education.

As a professor at the University himself, he works closely with faculty to ensure student-athletes maintain their grades. This has produced a steady improvement of the overall GPA of Missouri Baptist student-athletes. The MBU athletics department has received the NAIA Champions of Character Award for eight years through the many volunteer and service activities sponsored by all of the MBU athletics teams.

Smith is the president of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) and is a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC). He also serves on the NAIA NAC Awards and Statistics Committee, being selected as the vice-chair for 2010-11. Smith has been named the AMC Athletic Director of the Year (2005, 2010) and NAIA Region V Athletic Director of the Year (2005).