By Washington State Athletic Communications
PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University President Kirk Schulz has selected Patrick Chun as WSU director of athletics, it was announced Jan. 22. Chun was officially introduced at a press conference at Martin Stadium on Jan. 23. He is the 14th individual to lead Cougar athletics in school history; Chun began his duties Feb. 5.
“This is a game-changing day for our athletics program,” said Schulz. “We were focused on finding a leader with the right blend of experience, vision and passion to lead Cougar athletics to the next level of success. In Pat, we’re confident we found that person. His achievements in fundraising, boosting the academic success rate of student athletes and building strong relationships with the community — on- and off-campus — are exemplary.”
Chun, 43, is the first Asian American athletic director to lead a Power 5 school. He has spent the past five and a half years leading Florida Atlantic University athletics and the previous 15 years at Ohio State University in a multitude of roles from 1997-2012.
“I am honored to serve the Washington State University family, and I want to thank President Schulz and the search committee for entrusting me as the steward of the Department of Athletics,” said Chun. “The passion and pride of Cougar Nation is renowned and revered across the country, and I will work with our great coaches and staff to impact the lives of our student-athletes and build upon our past successes to achieve new heights. My family and I are looking forward to joining the WSU community, and we are excited to get started.”
During his time at Florida Atlantic University athletics, Chun guided the Owls to unprecedented successes across academics, athletics, student-athlete development and fundraising.
His top priority upon arriving at FAU was academics, which saw tremendous growth. Entering the 2017-18 academic year, FAU student-athletes have posted a combined GPA above 3.0 for each of the past four semesters, a first in school history. School records were also posted for Graduate Success Rate (GSR) and Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2016-17.
Along with the academic improvement, the FAU athletics department developed a comprehensive life skills program featuring career services and a speakers program, as well as a concerted effort to provide community service to the South Florida area.
“Throughout the process, it was exciting to see the number of tremendous candidates who applied,” said WSU Faculty Athletic Representative and search committee member Nancy Swanger. “It reaffirmed what I believed from the start, that this position is a nationally coveted job. Pat will be a wonderful addition to our campus and a person who understands the growing time demands of collegiate athletics, places a premium on academics and has great vision for the future with student-athlete welfare at the forefront.”
Under Chun’s leadership, FAU athletics rose to some of its greatest heights, winning multiple championships, individual and team.
The Owls’ football team won its final 10 games of 2017 to finish 11-3 with a bowl victory over Akron while receiving votes in the final national poll. Entering the 2017-18 academic year, FAU athletics posted an overall winning record the previous three years, while women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, beach volleyball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, baseball and softball have either won conference championships, been ranked highest in school history or finished with winning seasons. The men’s and women’s diving teams, women’s track and field and cross-country programs produced conference champions along with all-conference honorees.
On a national level, Chun currently serves on the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee. He also was named to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics executive committee in 2016. Chun completed a three-year term on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee from 2013-16
He also serves as a mentor in the NCAA Pathways program. Chun had previously served on the executive committee for the National Association for Athletics Development Directors and was a longtime board member for the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
In 2011, Chun was selected for the inaugural class of the Division 1A Athletics Directors Association Fellowship Program.
Prior to FAU, Chun spent 15 years at Ohio State University working at his alma mater. During his tenure, he ultimately became executive associate athletics director for external relations.
In his last role at Ohio State, Chun provided leadership and oversight for all facets of the external relations division from 2009-12.
Chun also was a lead member of the athletics department senior team that authored the then-largest multimedia rights deal in intercollegiate athletics history: a 10-year, $128 million partnership with IMG College in 2009. Chun also served as the daily administrative liaison with the football program.
A native of Strongsville, Ohio, Chun earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Duquesne University. He and his wife, Natalie, also an OSU alumna, have three daughters, Vanna, Kennedy and Gretta.
When asked during his initial press conference to comment about his thoughts about WSU’s athletics program, Chun replied, “Well, I think it’s all sports here. We’re all looking for comprehensive excellence. We want excellence in everything we do, whether it’s sports, sports information and fundraising. For us to accomplish our goals as an athletic department, it’s just not two sports, it’s not just a couple of coaches, it’s our entire athletic department coming together for our student athletes and for this university.”