PULLMAN – Pat Chun, the current athletic director at Florida Atlantic University, will become Washington State’s next athletic director, ESPN first reported Tuesday.
A press conference was scheduled for Wednesday, but was moved back to a later date after news broke Tuesday evening that quarterback Tyler Hilinski died of an apparent suicide.
The school hasn’t officially named Chun as its new AD, but WSU President Kirk Schulz has alluded to the hire on Twitter, first by following Chun’s account, then by retweeting a number of the reports linking him to the WSU job.
The AD hire comes a few weeks ahead of schedule.
Shortly after former AD Bill Moos accepted the same position at Nebraska, Schulz cited a Feb. 1 target date to hire Moos’ successor, and said he’d examine both internal and external candidates.
Chun doesn’t have any apparent ties to WSU or the Pac-12 Conference, but he has five years of AD experience at FAU and previously spent 15 years working at the Power 5 level, holding a variety of positions at his alma mater, Ohio State University.
He’ll also make history, becoming the first Asian-American athletic director at a Power 5 school, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
FAU’s football program is coming off a record season in which the Owls won 11 games, claimed a Conference USA title and snagged a win in the Boca Raton Bowl – a bowl game Chun helped create three years ago – under popular first-year coach Lane Kiffin.
Chun hired Kiffin in December 2016 and will now have the opportunity to work side by side with another one of the country’s most renowned and outspoken coaches: sixth-year WSU boss Mike Leach.
Schulz cited the importance of bringing in somebody with a strong fundraising background, and it’s a field in which Chun appears to be well versed. WSU’s athletic department was buried underneath an $8.5 million deficit for the 2017 fiscal year and the school hopes to generate private funds for an indoor practice facility and a baseball clubhouse, among other projects.
Chun’s credentials should help the Cougars there.
In 2015, FAU received a $16 million donation – the largest single gift in school history – for a brand new athletics complex the school broke ground on this fall. Individual gifts of $7 and $5 million were also used to fund the project.
In 2013, Chun helped FAU negotiate a 10-year deal with Learfield Sports as its exclusive corporate sponsorship sales unit, and in 2015, the school renewed its deal with Adidas for $1.2 million. Under Chun’s watch, FAU erected a new tennis complex – an $800,000 project that was paid for primarily with private funds. The department also introduced beach volleyball as a varsity sport and added the necessary sand courts while Chun was in charge. The Owls’ varsity soccer field also underwent recent renovations.
Twice in the past three years, Chun helped the FAU football program reach record season ticket sales and renewals. He also convinced Kiffin to sign a 10-year extension with the Owls.
At Ohio State, Chun was elevated six times during a 15-year tenure and left the school as Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Relations. Chun helped OSU reach record fundraising numbers: The Buckeyes generated $42 million in 2012, $41 million in 2011 and $39 million in 2010 while he was overseeing the external relations division. Chun oversaw all facets of that department from 2009-12.
In addition, he was part of an athletics department team that locked up what was then the largest multimedia rights deal in intercollegiate athletics history – a 10-year, $128 million partnership with IMG College in 2009.
Chun, a native of Strongsville, Ohio, obtained his bachelor’s from OSU in 1997 and later earned a master’s from Duquesne University. Chun has a wife, Natalie, and three daughters: Vanna, Kennedy and Gretta.
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