Miami Director of Athletics Blake James was selected as one of the winners of the 2016-17 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced Thursday.
James is one of four honorees from NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision institutions. Overall, there are 28 winners spanning seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). James and the other winners will be recognized during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, June 13, at NACDA's 52nd Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.
"Once again, we are proud to honor the 28 directors of athletics, from all levels of NACDA’s membership, as the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Class of 2016-17,” said NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione. “This award was created by the leadership of NACDA in 1998 to honor those athletics directors who have done an outstanding job in the eyes of their peers. In the 19-year history of the program, we have honored in excess of 425 of the top athletics directors in the industry.”
All NACDA-member directors of athletics in the United States, Canada and Mexico who met the criteria were eligible for the award. Among the criteria were service as an AD for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD's institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, etc.), in which the institution could not have been on probation or cited for a lack of institutional control during the tenure of the current athletics director.
Since taking over as the Director of Athletics at Miami in 2013, James has spearheaded improvement in all aspects of the department, including postseason appearances, student-athlete support, facility upgrades, ticket sales and academic achievement. Prior to 2013, James served as UM’s Interim Athletic Director and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and Ticket Operations. He has been working in college athletics for 22 years.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by the NACDA,” James said. “Our entire staff at UM works hard every day to help build champions and this award is indicative of those efforts.”