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Sports >  WSU football

Washington State Deputy AD Mike Marlow accepts position to lead Northern Arizona University athletics

Mike Marlow, right, poses for a photo with Northern Arizona University president Rita Cheng after being announced as the school’s new athletic director on Wednesday. (Northern Arizona University Athletic Communications / Courtesy)
Mike Marlow, right, poses for a photo with Northern Arizona University president Rita Cheng after being announced as the school’s new athletic director on Wednesday. (Northern Arizona University Athletic Communications / Courtesy)

Washington State lost another top athletic administrator on Wednesday when Deputy Athletic Director Mike Marlow was announced as the new Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at Northern Arizona University.

Wednesday’s announcement ends an eight-year relationship between WSU and Marlow, who arrived in Pullman in 2010 shortly after the school hired Bill Moos as its next AD. Marlow had previously spent 12 years as the senior associate athletic director at the University of Oregon, working under Moos for nearly a decade between 1998 and 2007.

“Mike rose to the top from a very impressive field of candidates. He is a strategic leader with the experience and background needed to elevate NAU’s athletic program,” NAU President Rita Cheng said during a press conference in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Wednesday. “I was most impressed by his commitment to the student-athlete experience and his collaborative approach to working with campus and community groups.”

Moos abruptly left WSU to take the same position at Nebraska on Oct. 15 and Marlow was thought to be a strong in-house candidate to replace the eighth-year AD. WSU President Kirk Schulz said in a news conference the school would be looking at both inside and outside candidates to find Moos’ successor, though Marlow’s departure suggests WSU did not strongly consider him for the position.

During Wednesday’s official announcement, Marlow said before the NAU position opened, he’d not been formally interviewed for a job “in nearly a decade,” and said “I’ve not been a person that’s looked at a lot of jobs.”

The NAU position is Marlow’s first athletic director job. A 1990 graduate of WSU, Marlow has also worked at the University of Idaho as an assistant athletic director (1995-98). His start came in the Big Sky Conference that he’s now returning to. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Marlow accepted the position of assistant director of the Grizzly Athletic Association at the University of Montana.

Seven years later, Marlow linked up with Moos at Oregon and spent the better part of two decades working underneath the former WSU AD, who Marlow singled out during his opening statement Wednesday.

“Along the way, I’ve been blessed to have a lot of mentors and professional advocates,” he said. “At the very top of that list is Bill Moos.”

Moos and Marlow worked hand in hand to bring current Cougars football coach Mike Leach to campus in 2012. Both Leach and Moos gave Marlow a glowing review Wednesday in an NAU press release.

“Northern Arizona University hired a true gem in Mike Marlow,” Moos said. “Highly regarded in the profession, Mike will being a fantastic vision and work ethic to a fine and respected institution. I wish him all the best and look for great success in his new position.”

Said Leach: “Mike Marlow will make an outstanding athletics director and is a personal friend who I have tremendous trust in and a great deal of respect for. Any time that I am thinking something through he is a great sounding board and provides a lot of wisdom. I think he will make a fantastic athletics director, and he is someone I would very much look forward to working with again. I wish Mike the very best and will continue to call him and get his thoughts on a variety of subjects as I need a sharp mind.”

The relationship between Marlow and WSU men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent dates back to the late 1990’s when both were working for Moos at UO. In his weekly news conference on Wednesday, Kent sang Marlow’s praises and noted the success of the five administrators who worked under Moos – all of which are or have been ADs at the Division I level. That tree included Marlow (NAU), Greg Byrne (Alabama), Jim Bartko (Fresno State), Renee Baumgartner (Santa Clara) and Dave Heeke (Arizona).

“Mike I thought was just as good, if not better, than everyone in the group,” Kent said. “I’m happy for him, to see him get that opportunity, and that’s a tremendous tree for Bill Moos to have that quality of personnel that are in those key positions right now. (Mike) will do a tremendous job. It hurts because he did such a tremendous job for our program.”

Marlow takes over for former NAU AD Lisa Campos, who left Flagstaff in mid-November to take the same position at University of Texas-San Antonio. Marlow, who has a wife and three children, will finish out the month of December in Pullman before beginning the new role in mid-January.

During his time at WSU, Marlow oversaw the Cougar Athletic Fund (CAF) – which doubled its totals in membership and contributions in recent years – in addition to marketing, ticket operations and communication efforts. He also acted as a school liaison to IMG College and the Pac-12 Networks.

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