New UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury flashed one of his three championship rings at his introductory news conference Tuesday.
He joked that he wore it because it matched his black-and-gold tie. He earned the ring in 1990 while at Georgia Tech, and he said the jewelry was a beacon for how he wants to run the athletics department at UCF.
“It’s a great illustration of a program that did it the right way, and we were still able to win at the highest level,” Stansbury said. “There is cynicism that says being a great student-athlete and being able to compete at the highest level are mutually exclusive. But I don’t believe that at all.
Stansbury’s positive attitude and commitment to running the athletics department with integrity appealed to UCF administrators.
He comes to UCF from Oregon State University, where he has supervised business operations, including a $56 million budget and ticket sales, since 2003. He also has earned two more national championship rings, courtesy of the Beavers’ baseball team.
More than half of Oregon State’s student-athletes boast grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. The Beavers’ athletics annual fund has grown 155 percent since 2003, and ticket sales have grown 80 percent.
UCF President John C. Hitt said about 80 people applied for the UCF AD job, demonstrating the university’s vast appeal nationwide. He praised Stansbury as a “dynamic leader.”
“We began this search with the promise that we would hire a director of athletics who would lead us in a manner consistent with our responsibilities as members of the NCAA and follow our own high standards of conduct and performance,” Dr. Hitt said. “We’re keeping that promise. Todd is an innovative leader who stresses the importance of character and integrity to his coaches, staff and student-athletes.”
“Todd will lead our athletics program on a path of success on the field and in the classroom and in the community.”
UCF interim Director of Athletics Admiral Al Harms, who took over the program on Nov. 8, was impressed with Stansbury’s enthusiasm and commitment to integrity. Harms will continue to oversee UCF Athletics until Stansbury takes over on March 1, and he’s looking forward to working with UCF’s new AD.
“Todd has spoken passionately about doing things the right way … and I’m excited about being on this team and watching him deliver on that promise,” Admiral Harms said. “I don’t know if I’ve met a guy in a long time who is as genuine and authentic as Todd Stansbury, and that shines through in every word and every action.”
Prior to his time at Oregon State, Stansbury – an Oakville, Ontario native – established some deep roots in the Southeast and became quite familiar with UCF. He was the director of athletics at East Tennessee State University from 2000-03 and associate director of athletics at the University of Houston from 1997-2000. He played linebacker at Georgia Tech and then worked in the athletics department there from 1988-1995.
UCF head football coach George O’Leary worked with Stansbury when both were at Georgia Tech. O’Leary said he believes Stansbury is the right man to lead UCF into the next generation of athletics success.
“Todd’s a very sincere person. It’s a very good hire by UCF from what I know of Todd and know of the job he will do here,” O’Leary said. “We are busy right now recruiting, and hopefully he gets back quickly enough so I can introduce him to some of our recruits.”
Stansbury said he is impressed with the progress UCF’s athletics program has made in such a short time and with the surrounding community, which he said has “so much going for it.” He said he plans to meet with university and community leaders, as well as students, soon after his arrival.
Stansbury also said UCF’s appeal was heightened by the school’s pending entry into the BIG EAST in 2013-14. He said he will spend the coming months studying what UCF needs to do to best be prepared for the conference move.
“Going into the BIG EAST is an incredible opportunity, and we’ve got to be ready to compete at that level right away,” he said.