EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- UW-Eau Claire has named its new athletic director.
On Friday morning, the university announced that Dan Schumacher has been hired as Director of Athletics. Schumacher is director of intercollegiate athletics at Chicago State University in Chicago.
Last month, Webster University in St. Louis named Scott Kilgallon as its athletic director. Kilgallon had been UW-Eau Claire athletic director for nearly 10 years, before announcing his retirement earlier this year.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UW-EAU CLAIRE NEWS RELEASE) -- Daniel Schumacher has been named director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire following a national search.
For the past two years, Schumacher has served as director of the NCAA Division I athletics program at Chicago State University. Schumacher will assume UW-Eau Claire athletics director responsibilities June 15. Current director Scott Kilgallon is leaving for a new post at Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri.
"Dan Schumacher comes to UW-Eau Claire with a proven background in successfully building and improving intercollegiate athletics programs while maintaining a strong academic focus for student-athletes,” said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. “He is ready to be out in the community, both building support for resources and creating the engagement that fosters community spirit around Blugold athletics. He also will be a great leader for our excellent coaching staff. His vision and leadership will ensure our student-athletes' experience at UW-Eau Claire will continue to be characterized by success in the classroom and in competition."
Many aspects of UW-Eau Claire sparked Schumacher's desire to serve as director of intercollegiate athletics, but the people were what affected him the most, Schumacher said.
"What stood out the most are the Chancellor’s vision, the Vice Chancellor’s passion for students and the coaches' intensity for wanting to achieve more," Schumacher said. "When I left Eau Claire a couple weeks back after the interview, I called my wife from the road and said that these coaches and staff are so dedicated and passionate, it’s what college sports are all about. I’m looking forward to being a part of that."
Goals for the future of the athletic program at UW-Eau Claire will revolve around three things, Schumacher said, "student-welfare and experience, high academic standards and a championship culture."
"I am looking forward to working with the campus community and learning about UW-Eau Claire more in depth," Schumacher said. "I want to seek to understand before we know how to move forward from a strategic planning standpoint. I look forward to working with all constituency groups to develop a plan that will achieve very high goals. My family is looking forward to being an active part of the Eau Claire region and community."
Under Schumacher’s leadership from 2012-14, the Chicago State University men's basketball team won the Great West Conference Tournament Championship in March 2013, their first championship as an NCAA Division I program and the squad's first postseason tournament appearance. Schumacher also was instrumental in Chicago State's admittance into the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 campaign, giving the university a home in an athletic conference with an automatic bid to NCAA Championships for the first time since 2005-06. Also during Schumacher’s term was the construction of the $2.5 million Chicago State University Baseball Stadium, giving the baseball team its first on-campus stadium in school history.
Prior to joining Chicago State University, Schumacher served as the director of the NCAA Division I and II athletics program at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, for six years. During his tenure, the Lewis Flyers won nine regular-season Great Lakes Valley Conference championships and 13 GLVC Tournament championships. Lewis' teams made appearances in 22 NCAA tournaments, including Final Four runs for the men’s soccer team in 2009 and the Division I men’s volleyball team in 2012. The Lewis baseball team went from eight wins in 2007 to the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 1996 in 2012.
At Lewis, Schumacher also focused heavily on student-athlete academics. In his final three years at Lewis, the graduation rate for student-athletes rose from 60 percent to as high as 86 percent, while the Flyers’ academic success rate peaked at 98 percent.
Before joining Lewis University, Schumacher served for four years as the director of athletic development at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, where his duties included marketing and promotions, development, external relations, corporate relations, facilities oversight, budgeting and NCAA compliance.
"Dan is a fantastic fit for UW-Eau Claire athletics and he really rose to the top in the process of our national search," said Dr. Beth Hellwig, UW-Eau Claire vice chancellor for student affairs. "His vast and comprehensive expertise developed during 24 years of experience in NCAA intercollegiate athletics will serve us well in ensuring that we field competitive athletics teams and develop academically successful student-athletes."
Schumacher spent his early career in the banking and finance industry before earning a master’s degree in educational administration from Winona State University in 2005. In addition, Schumacher holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in business administration from Winona State, where he earned All-American honors as a student-athlete in football and served two years as football team captain.
Schumacher and his wife, Kristin, are the parents of a daughter, Kasey, and sons Jack and Declan.