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OCU's Abbott Recognized as SAC AD of the Year

July 31, 2014
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By Rich Tortorelli, Oklahoma City Assistant Athletic Director for Communications

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jim Abbott of Oklahoma City University has been selected Sooner Athletic Conference athletic director of the year.

Abbott, OCU assistant vice president of intercollegiate athletics, has previously been honored as conference athletic director of the year in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

In addition, Abbott had been awarded NAIA athletic director of the year in 2008-09 by the NAIA Athletics Directors Association and NAIA Central Region athletic director of the year in 2009-10 by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

Abbott garnered the award based on achievements in budget development, department oversight, facility development, academic achievement among student-athletes, team success, service to the NAIA and Champions of Character initiatives.

"I believe Jim Abbott is the best athletic director in the nation,” OCU President Robert Henry said. “I am delighted that the Sooner Conference concurs with respect to our home turf. Jim is a fixture here at OCU, guiding our students to be leaders in and out of the athletic arena and leading our athletic department to embrace OCU’s core values of servant leadership and academic excellence."

Among the NAIA, Abbott has been president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association, chairman of the NAIA Hall of Fame selection committee and member of the National Administrative Council. Abbott serves as a member of the membership committee, Hall of Fame selection committee, NACMA advisory board, cheer and dance emerging sport committee and ad hoc advisory committee. Abbott is on the SAC senior leadership team.

Abbott was recognized by the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Fifth Annual Hometown Heroes luncheon for attracting sporting events to the community to showcase Oklahoma City.

Among the events brought to campus in 2013-14 were the NAIA West Qualifying Cheer/Dance Championships, NAIA cheerleading and pom/dance championships, the STUNT championships, the Sooner Athletic Conference baseball and softball tournaments and the NAIA Softball Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City Bracket.

The OKC CVB acknowledged Abbott's creation of the Business of Small College Athletics workshop and helping form the Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium, a group of Oklahoma City sports leaders working together to bring events to town.

In 2013-14, the Stars reeled in several accolades:
• The Stars captured five national championships to increase OCU’s total to 56.
• Oklahoma City took second place in the NAIA NACDA Director’s Cup standings.
• The Stars became national runner-up in two sports.
• OCU finished No. 1 in the national rankings of three sports.
• The Stars won five SAC championships.
• Seventy-eight Stars became all-Americans.
• Oklahoma City combined for a 3.017 grade-point average the past school year.
• Sixteen OCU teams compiled 3.0 team GPAs.
• Twenty-one Stars took academic all-American or scholar-athlete recognition.

Abbott has been OCU athletic director for 11 years. During Abbott’s tenure at OCU, the athletic department has raised more than $16 million and constructed or renovated nine athletic facilities. Abbott has overseen the construction of Ann Lacy Stadium, Devon Boathouse, Steve and Suzan Knight Athletic Training Facility, the Jim Wade Athletic Office Suite plus major renovations to Jim Wade Stadium and Stars Field. OCU student-athletes have maintained a 3.0 GPA throughout his tenure.

The Stars have won 34 national championships in Abbott’s time as OCU athletic director.