WILMINGTON, Ohio – Dr. Terry Rupert has announced his retirement as Wilmington College's athletic director effective at the end of the calendar year. A search for his successor is underway.
Rupert, who added vice president for athletic administration to his title in 2007, will also remain in that role this semester as he transitions into becoming a full-time faculty member with the sport management program, which he started in 1998.
Rupert expressed his appreciation to the College for the opportunity to manifest his love for sport while utilizing his expertise as both an educator and athletics administrator.
"I've had the pleasure of working with a great staff through the years, each of whom are dedicated to serving the College's student-athletes. I thank them for their tireless efforts and belief in our athletic program," he said, adding that seeing student-athletes evolve and mature during their WC experience has been especially fulfilling and inspirational.
"Our student-athletes represent the epitome of the NCAA Division III philosophy that athletics can be a key part of a student's education and set the stage for successful lives."
He noted that one of the best things about his retirement now as a senior administrator is that he will remain close to the College's athletic program in the capacity of faculty member.
"I've been teaching in the sport management program for more than 20 years — it's been very gratifying to see it grow and mature as it has," he added. "There are exciting developments on the near horizon for the program, and I 'm happy to be involved in this new capacity as a full-time faculty member."
Rupert will join Fred Raizk as the College's longest serving athletic directors. He came to Wilmington in 1996, following Dick Scott (1989-96), Bill Ramseyer (1974-89) and Raizk (1950-74) as WC's ADs over the past seven decades.
Rupert guided the athletics department through several conference affiliations in his early years, including moves into the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in 1998 and the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) in 2000.
Several facility additions and renovations took place under his watch as well, most noticeably the $10.2 million Center for Sport Sciences, which opened in 2015. Hermann Court, which has hosted eight NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament games along with numerous Ohio Athletic High School Association (OHSAA) Tournament contests, remains one of the region's quality facilities. Also, Williams Stadium underwent major improvements with the installation of field turf, lighting and a new scoreboard.
Especially notable athletic achievements under Rupert's watch include: women's basketball capturing the 2004 NCAA Division III national championship, the crowning of seven individual national champions, hosting the 2006 and 2014 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, and winning conference titles in men and women's soccer, men and women's basketball, and indoor and outdoor men's track and field. In addition, he led the increasing of varsity sport offerings by adding or reinstating the lacrosse, wrestling, tennis, golf and equestrian programs.
In addition to his direct impact on campus, Rupert served on the NCAA's Division III Management Council for six years, including chairing the body from 2013 through 2015. That leadership role placed him in the upper echelon of NCAA management as a member of the Board of Governors, which worked closely with NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Indeed, Rupert's close connections with the NCAA hierarchy resulted in the College becoming one of the few D-III schools selected as a site for the massive Department of Defense concussion study, which has been ongoing since 2016.
President Jim Reynolds praised Rupert's commitment to the student-athlete at Wilmington College and looks forward to his enhanced role with the popular sport management program.
"A grateful College recognizes Terry's extremely significant impact as athletic director throughout the past 23 years," he said, noting that, each year, nearly half of WC's students are engaged in intercollegiate athletics. "His emphasis on sportsmanship, leadership and maximum effort within the athletic programs has enriched the education and lives of WC's student-athletes and alumni."
In addition, Reynolds lauded Rupert's "visionary" role in developing the sport management program, which currently ranks in the top five among the College's most popular majors.
"We look forward to Terry's increased teaching and leadership presence in the sport management area," the president added. "His nurturing of the program for the past 20-plus years has resulted in it becoming both a signature academic major and an exemplar of WC's hallmark for hands-on learning opportunities."
The program is ranked in School.com's Top 10 Best Colleges for Sports Management Degree Programs in 2018-19 and, several years ago, Best Small Colleges ranked the program No. 1 in its Sport Management Degree Guide.