James (Jim) Sterk
Washington native James M. Sterk was appointed Washington State University's Director of Athletics in June of 2000. Since his arrival, Sterk has overseen unprecedented growth and success by the Cougars' 17 intercollegiate teams and 450 individuals who compete for WSU annually.
The foundation of Sterk's leadership plan is based on five areas: the student-athlete experience, resource acquisition, personnel, political dynamics, and facilities. All five areas have enjoyed growth during his tenure at Washington State University.
This was especially reflected during the 2006-07 academic year as WSU was recognized with three national honors.
The department was recognized as a Program of Excellence by the Division I-A Athletic Directors' Association. The Program of Excellence award is designed to recognize Division I-A athletics programs that have established student-athlete welfare as the cornerstone of their operating principles.
For the second consecutive year the department earned the Diversity in Athletics Award presented by the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport at Texas A&M University (recognized in the "Overall Excellence in Diversity" and "Title IX Compliance" categories). The Diversity in Athletics Award recognizes the NCAA Division I-A athletic departments that excel in the area of diversity.
Finally, WSU was a recipient of the inaugural "Opportunity Awards," presented by the Women's Sports Foundation. In an effort to recognize schools that consistently provide equitable opportunities to their female student-athletes and set a tone in their athletic department that reflect the school's overall ideals and aspirations, the foundation created the "Opportunity Awards." The foundation selected one school from each region of the country that represents these qualities and can serve as ambassadors for their segment of the country. WSU was the West region recipient.
Academically, all student-athletes maintained a 3.01 cumulative GPA in 2008-09 and for 10 consecutive semesters WSU student-athletes have averaged at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA. With 15 student-athletes represented, football had the most ever selections to the Pac-10 All-Academic team and the men's basketball program claimed four spots on the five-man Pac-10 All-Academic Team, the first time that has ever happened.
Taylor Rochestie (men's basketball) and Greg Lagreid (baseball) were named the Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for their respective sports in 2009, marking the second straight year a student-athlete with these programs were bestowed with that honor (Robbie Cowgill and Jayson Miller earned the accolades for men's basketball and baseball, respectively in 2008).
WSU earned 117 selections to Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic teams in 2007-08. That figure represented the most student-athletes to earn such an honor during an academic year in school history.
On the field, Cougar Athletics has enjoyed extraordinary achievements. In the past three years, 12 sports (baseball, men's basketball, men's & women's track & field, men's & women's cross-country, men's & women's golf, rowing, tennis, soccer, and swimming) have been represented in NCAA postseason play. Among the many highlights achieved by the programs during Sterk's tenure are the men's basketball team three consecutive postseason appearances including back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2007 & 2008). The football program put together three consecutive 10-win seasons from 2001 to 2003 and the women's rowing program earned five NCAA Championship appearances including a fourth-place finish in 2006, the highest finish ever by a WSU women's team in NCAA postseason competition.
In 2006-07, eight Washington State University sports scored points in the United States Sports Academy Directors' Cup during giving the Cougars their best finish in four years. WSU finished 70th nationally with 283 points, the Cougars best mark since a 55th place finish and school record 351.5 points in 2002-03. WSU tallied points in eight sports, which was tied for the most in school history (2001-02 and 2002-03).
In addition to the student-athletes' academic and athletic successes during his tenure, Sterk has also presided over exceptional increases in financial support for the student-athletes. The Athletic Foundation membership total has increased over 50 percent since his arrival and annual giving has increased from just under $3 million in gifts and pledges in 2000 to over $8 million in 2008. Sterk has also overseen a significant increase of the department's operating budget from just under $20 million in 2000 to over $30 million in 2008.
Facility improvements have also been among projects Sterk has tackled. Following the 2006 football season, the initial phases of a renovation to Martin Stadium, the home of Cougar football, began, which were completed in time for the 2008 football season. A state-of-the-art indoor rowing tank and a hydrotherapy complex were completed last year and Bailey-Brayton Field became the first collegiate baseball field to feature FieldTurf as a playing surface. In addition, plans are underway for an ambitious capital improvement plan that will enhance many other WSU sport facilities.
A 1980 graduate of Western Washington University, Sterk received his master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University. His professional career has included positions at North Carolina, Maine, Seattle Pacific, Tulane, and Portland State, the latter as director of athletics for five years before joining the Cougar staff.
Sterk currently is the chair of the Pac-10 Athletic Directors committee and has served on numerous Pacific-10 Conference committees during his tenure at WSU. Additionally, Sterk has previously served as a member of the prestigious NCAA Championship/Competition cabinet.
June 10, 1956, Bellingham, Wash.
Nooksack Valley High, 1974 - Earned varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track.
Western Washington University, 1980 - Received bachelor of arts in physical education and business education...earned four varsity letters in football and one in basketball...football team captain, team MVP and all-district first team as a senior in 1977.
Ohio University, 1986 - Earned master's of science in sports administration...elected sports administration class president...recipient of an NFL scholarship.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1986 - Assistant to the director of ticket operations (internship).
University of Maine, 1987-90 - Assistant AD for finance, 1989-90...started as assistant business manager and ticket manager, 1987-88, and then was director of athletic services, 1988-89.
Seattle Pacific, 1990-91 - Associate athletic director.
Tulane University, 1991-95 - Served as senior associate AD and executive director of the Green Wave Club, 1992-95...initially served as associate AD for administration and external affairs, 1991-92...between 1992 and 1995, directed Green Wave Club campaign that generated more than 3,200 new donors (220% increase) and an additional $8.6 million (400% increase) in gifts and pledges.
Portland State University, 1995-2000 - Athletic director...membership in NCAA and Big Sky Conference...orchestrated school's move from NCAA Div. II to Div. I and into the Big Sky Conference...tenure highlights included - securing a $1,000,000 gift for athletics, the largest single gift to PSU in the school's history...directed a fund raising campaign that generated over $5 million...Viking Club donor base doubled from 600 to 1200...completed master plan in March 2000 for a $20 million renovation of PSU's athletic and student recreation facility...in 1999 assisted in a $37 million development of Portland's Civic Stadium, home of Viking football...PSU hosted the 2000 NCAA Women's Basketball West Regional...increased annual cash donations to athletics from $120,000 in 1994 to $1.2 million in 1999...initiated the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame...restarted men's basketball after a 15-year hiatus.
Washington State University, 2000 to present - Athletic Director
Other related experiences - high school teacher, coach and administrator in Washington and Oregon, 1979-85...taught history, science and physical education...coached baseball, softball, football, basketball and track.
Chair, Big Sky Conference Joint Athletic Council (1999-2000), Portland Oregon Sports Authority (1999-2000), Big Sky Conference TV Committee (1998-2000), NCAA I-AA Football Regional Advisory Committee (1999), Big Sky Legislative Committee (1996-98). Current Committees: Pac-10 Conference Executive, Pac-10 Men's Basketball Subcommittees Chair; Pac-10 Rev. Sharing and Football Officiating Subcommittees; Pac-10 Special and Ad Hoc Committees: AD Liaisons to Coaches Group, Bowl Committee, Rose Bowl Management
Enjoys jogging, boating and singing.
Supervises a NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic program of 10 women's and seven men's teams, all competing in the Pacific-10 Conference.
Debra (Debi) J. Sterk
CHILDREN: Ashley (3-12-89), Amy (10-14-91), Abby (5-12-95)
Related Story: Jim Sterk Selected WSU's New Athletic Director
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