University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced today that the search for a new athletic director will begin following the resignation of Jon McBride, which is effective July 31. Kristensen made the announcement in an email today to the UNK community, citing McBride’s vision and leadership guiding UNK athletics to regional and national prominence, and acknowledging the importance of McBride’s attention to his personal health and his “courageous” battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
“Jon’s decision to step down at this time was a particularly difficult one for him as he weighed his passion for UNK athletics, coaches, and student athletes against the need to give increasing attention to his own health,” Kristensen said. “In his new role as special assistant he will help ease the transition for a new Athletic Director.”
McBride informed the athletic department today.
“It has indeed been a honor and privilege of serving as UNK’s athletic director and I am proud of the positive changes, growth and successes that our student-athletes, coaches, and administrative team have accomplished,” McBride said.
A national search for a new athletic director has already begun, Kristensen said. He has engaged a national search consultant and appointed a committee to advise him, one of whom will be McBride.
McBride arrived at UNK in August 2002. Prior to this appointment, he served as Assistant Athletics Director for External Affairs at the University of Florida from 1990 to 2002. Previously, in 1988-90, McBride served as Associate Athletic Director at Saint Louis University and was Coordinator of Electronic Media at Louisiana State University from 1983-88. A native of Athens, Ohio, McBride holds a bachelor’s degree in radio-television management and a master’s degree in sports administration, both from Ohio University.
After more than 30 years in intercollegiate athletics leadership positions, McBride now shifts his focus to living with Parkinson’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2009. Watch McBride’s press conference courtesy of Lopers Athletics.
“Doctors have advised me that my symptoms are very manageable with medicine, reduction in stress levels, regular exercise and physical therapy,” McBride said. “So, it’s time for me, and my family, to focus more on quality of life moving forward.”
During the McBride era, UNK captured seven (out of 10) Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophies, three Division II Wrestling Championships, a national runner-up finish in volleyball, and an Elite 8 appearance in men’s basketball. UNK also fashioned seven NACDA Director’s Cup Top 25 rankings. In the classroom, Loper student-athletes have routinely earned grade point averages over 3.00, with the women’s cross country, wrestling and women’s basketball teams leading the nation in team GPA multiple times.
Kristensen’s goal is to have new athletic director on campus by Aug. 1.