Under Armour AD of the Year Award Winners - NAIA
June 16, 2009
Bill Blazer, Ohio Dominican University, Northeast Region
Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Athletics Director Bill Blazer has been repeatedly recognized for his outstanding leadership, hard work and dedication to the student-athletes at ODU. Under his leadership, ODU has been recognized seven straight years as an NAIA "Champions of Character" institution. Blazer, who was named the 2007-08 NAIA Region IX Athletics Director of the Year, has served as ODU's director of athletics for the past four years and has led the athletics department to excellence on and off the field of play. During his time at ODU, the Panthers have won 14 conference titles and qualified for 10 national tournaments. Off the field, the athletics department has set high academic standards for its students, with athletes having a higher average GPA than the general student body. Since September 1, 2008, the institution is now a dual affiliated member of the NAIA and the NCAA and will become active in NCAA Division II membership in 2011. Blazer has served the NAIA as a Region IX representative on the Council for Affiliated Conferences and Independents since 2003. He has also served as chairman of the Mid-States Football Association in 2000 and again in 2006.
Larry Carpenter, Lee University, Southeast Region
The athletics department at Lee University under Larry Carpenter has developed into one of the premier programs in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) and NAIA. Under his leadership, Flame teams have continued to rank among the nation's elite and the women's soccer team presented Carpenter and Lee University with its first NAIA National Championship during the 2008 season Carpenter, the 2007-08 NAIA Athletics Director Association AD of the Year, oversees 13 intercollegiate sports, continually promoting the NAIA's flagship program "Champions of Character." During his tenure, Lee University has constructed new baseball and softball facilities, added a hitting cage and artificial infield to the baseball complex, added lights and a press box for the soccer facility and renovated basketball's Walker Arena. Off the field, Carpenter and the University have set high academic standards for their athletes, and for the past seven years, student-athletes have had a higher GPA and graduation rate than the general student body. In addition, student-athletes carry an overall GPA in excess of a 3.0 with a high of 3.2 during the 2002-03 academic year.
Dan Harris, Baker University, Central Region
Dan Harris has dedicated himself to Baker University, the Heart of America Athletic Conference, and to the NAIA over his 26 year career while serving as director of athletics for the last 15 years. Due to his efforts over the past five years, every athletics field received a new Daktronics scoreboard, Liston Stadium installed FieldTurf for football and soccer, a new polyurethane track, and a new baseball stadium was constructed along with significant upgrades to the softball complex. The fall of 2008 was a banner year as every fall sport qualified for postseason competition. The highlights included a football team playing in the first round of the NAIA National Championships and the men's soccer team traveled to Fresno, California to participate in the "Sweet Sixteen" round in the National Championships. In the fall of 2009, Dan Harris will add wrestling and women's bowling bringing the total number of sports sponsored by Baker University to 21. Baker has embraced the "Champions of Character" program under Harris's leadership by instilling it into the department's mission statement. As a result, Baker has been named a "Champions of Character" institution since the program's inception in 2001. Harris constantly works to develop personnel, develop and monitor operational budgets, schedule events, submit information for compliance, monitor eligibility and oversee recruitment and retention of student-athletes.
Bruce Parker, Carroll College, West Region
In his sixth year at the helm of Carroll College athletics, Athletics Director and NAIA Athletics Director Association President Bruce Parker is constantly keeping Carroll College in the forefront of NAIA athletics. The athletics and academic successes have been plentiful at Carroll under Parker. The Fighting Saints have captured the Frontier Conference George Bandy Memorial All-Sports Trophy twice in Parker's tenure. The Fighting Saint football program has won nine consecutive Frontier Conference Championships including five NAIA National Football Championships. Academically, in 2007, seven of Carroll's nine athletics teams were honored as NAIA Scholar Teams. The teams earned at least a 3.0 team GPA during the 2007-08 academic year. The women's soccer team at Carroll topped the chart with a 3.89 team grade point average, the highest in the entire NAIA. Parker continues to exceed the college's expectations for fund raising to help enhance the athletics facilities on Carroll's campus. During his term at Carroll, Parker has been honored as the NAIA National Athletics Director of the Year in 2005 in addition to being recognized as a two time NAIA Region I Athletics Director of the Year.