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May 29, 2002

Terry Wanless named new CSUS athletics director

Photo: Terry Wanless at news conferenceTerry Wanless, who spent nine years building the University of North Dakota athletics program into one of the best Division II programs in the nation, has been named the new director of intercollegiate athletics at California State University, Sacramento.

He was introduced by CSUS President Donald R. Gerth at a news conference today at Hornet Stadium.

"I believe Terry will prove himself an outstanding addition to this University, and indeed to the whole community," Dr. Gerth said. "He is a proven leader with a clear vision of the value of athletics in higher education, and of how to build a successful program. Just as importantly, he is a man of principles and a man of integrity."

Wanless was athletics director at North Dakota from 1990 to 1999.

During that time, North Dakota enjoyed strong competitive success, winning four NCAA national championships and 36 conference championships, and finishing second in conference 25 times. The university finished in the top 15 every year in the Sears Cup standings except 1997, when flooding ended the spring sports season.

Photo: Terry WanlessWanless guided the program to compliance with gender equity guidelines, and he challenged student-athletes to excel in the classroom. Student-athlete grade point averages increased from 2.3 to 3.1. In spring 1999, 67 athletes earned a perfect 4.0 GPA, and the graduation rate of North Dakota student-athletes was 77 percent, compared to 52 percent of the overall student body.

At North Dakota, Wanless inherited a program that was nearly $500,000 in debt. When he left, it had a $200,000 reserve and the athletic budget had increased 32 percent. Fund-raising had increased from $220,000 to $900,000 annually. The football, hockey, and men's and women's basketball teams had set new attendance records, and the university had signed the first $1 million radio contract in Division II history.

Among the numerous facility improvements completed during Wanless' tenure were renovated athletic administration and tennis facilities, a resurfaced track facility, a new artificial surface for the football field, and many remodeled locker rooms and offices. Wanless developed the concept for the new indoor football stadium. A hockey arena, built with private funds, was being developed when Wanless left.

Prior to his position at North Dakota Wanless was director of intercollegiate athletics at Western Carolina University for four years and held a variety of positions, including director of intercollegiate athletics, at Towson State University in Baltimore. Most recently, he was with Dakota Athletic Consulting.

"I sincerely appreciate the opportunity given to me by Dr. Gerth to be the next athletics director at CSUS," Wanless said. "I see a tremendous opportunity to move the program forward. I'm excited about working with the coaches, administration and staff to help CSUS become a dominant force in the Big Sky Conference."

Wanless replaces Debby Colberg, who has been the CSUS director of intercollegiate athletics since February 1999. Colberg, who continued to coach her highly successful volleyball team while serving as athletics director, decided to focus on coaching. During her tenure, the athletics department saw continued growth both on and off the field. Ten sports posted their best records since joining NCAA Division I, there has been a $400,000 renovation of Hornet Gym and academic support of athletes has been improved.

Wanless earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Black Hills State University, a master's degree in physical education from Northern Illinois University and a doctorate in athletic administration from Temple University.

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