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Past President Testimonials: Earl Edwards

March 29, 2018

CLEVELAND - #NAADD25th: In honor of NAADD’s 25 years of commitment to the development of collegiate athletics, NAADD will be featuring the full testimonials of Past Presidents throughout 2018.

To mark the start of the men’s and women’s Final Four, it’s time to feature the final Past President of March, Earl Edwards (2002-03), who currently serves as the director of athletics at the University of California San Diego.


Edwards, a graduate of East Stroudsburg, earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1972 and went on to earn a master's in sports administration from the University of Massachusetts in ‘73.

In 2000, Edwards accepted the position of Director of Athletics at UC San Diego and in nearly 20 years he has guided the Tritons to unprecedented successes in and out of the classroom. Once he arrived to campus, Edwards oversaw UC San Diego Athletics transition from Division III to Division II.

During his tenure, UCSD has claimed seven California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Commissioners' Cups, as well as three Division II national championships including back-to-back women’s soccer titles (2000-2001) and a softball crown in 2011. Since moving up from Division III, UC San Diego has been ranked among the top seven programs in the country in the annual Learfield Directors' Cup, including four top-five finishes.

Edwards has also been instrumental in building and renovating multiple athletics facilities across the UCSD campus. In 2016, UC San Diego's undergraduate student body voted overwhelmingly in favor to move the institution's athletics program to NCAA Division I and on November 27, UC San Diego officially accepted an invitation to join the Big West Conference and began a four-year Division I reclassification period.

Along with serving the UC San Diego Athletics community for close to two decades, Edwards has served the collegiate athletics community at-large throughout his career. He has served on the NACDA Division II Board of Directors and the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) Board of Directors as well as. Additionally, Edwards is a member of the CCAA's Executive Council and served on NACDA's Executive Committee from 2003-07. He has been a member of the Division II Management Council, the Division II Championships, Minority Opportunities and Interest Committee, the Walter Byers Scholarship Committee as well as the Committee for Women's Athletics.

Along with UCSD, Edwards has also held the title of Athletics Director at East Stroudsburg University, and was a member of the administration at the University of Massachusetts, UC Davis, the University of Michigan and Drexel University.

Here is what Earl had to say about NAADD:

Why should someone become a NAADD member?
NAADD is by far the best professional fundraising organization for intercollegiate athletics. It will not only help members with their fundraising efforts but it’s a great way to network and grow professionally. In fact, many members of NAADD have gone on to be Athletic Directors.

What has NAADD meant to you?
NAADD has been a great resource for me in keeping up with many new trends and getting ideas for fundraising at different levels. I personally like the round table discussions where you often get customized and varied approaches to fundraising which are very helpful.

What impact did your time as NAADD President have on you as a professional?
It was a great opportunity to interact with some of the top Athletic department fundraisers in the country. I learned so much more about fundraising from the NAADD Executive Board as well as the membership during my presidency.

What is your fondest memory of serving as NAADD President?
There were so many fond memories during my presidency that it’s hard to pick one. However, I like to do things as a leader that have real impact. When I became President at NAADD, the NAADD budget was either in deficit or very close to it. I suggested that we create a corporate sponsorship committee to raise funds for NAADD and our convention. Ross Bjork, currently the AD at Ole Miss was the chair of that group and our financials have been in great shape ever since. I also really enjoyed our summer meeting at UC San Diego when the head fundraisers from Iowa, Rutgers, Michigan State and Missouri to name a few, came to visit my campus.

How do you see NAADD progressing in the next five years? Next ten years?
In the next five to ten years I see NAADD continuing to be a leader in fundraising at the intercollegiate level. There will be more of a focus on how to use, and keep up with technology, as well as enhancing ones professional growth.


Check back on April 3, when NAADD will spotlight Past President for the 2003-04 academic year Lu Merritt, the current director of development for intercollegiate athletics at Virginia Tech.

Stay up-to-date on the 25th Anniversary celebration and all things NAADD related by following NAADD on Twitter by using the hashtag #NAADD25th.

About NAADD: NAADD is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities, enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics, and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of athletics development and fund raising. For more information about NAADD, please visit www.naadd.com. NAADD is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.