March 23, 2012

NMU Announces Athletic Director Finalists

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University announced today (March 23) the three finalists for its athletic director’s position.

They are David Diles, director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; Sean Johnson, senior associate athletics director for external affairs, University of North Dakota; Forrest Karr, director of athletics, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

A full schedule of the candidates’ campus visits will be announced when completed. While at NMU, each finalist will make a public presentation.

Julie Rochester, co-chair of the search committee and NMU’s faculty representative, said, “We were pleased to have received so many strong applications from across the nation from people who wanted the opportunity to lead the Wildcat Intercollegiate Athletic and Recreation Services Department. Our three finalists stood out from among the others due to their exceptional past and current experience and their vision of where they could take the NMU intercollegiate, club and intramural programs, as well as the United States Olympic Education Center programs, in the future.  We’re excited to have the NMU campus and community meet David, Sean and Forrest.”

Case Western Reserve’s intercollegiate varsity sports teams compete at the NCAA Division III level in the University Athletic Association.  North Dakota is a Division I institution, playing in the Big Sky Conference, Great West Conference and Western Collegiate Hockey Association.  Alaska Fairbanks is Division II and a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference and Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Diles has held his current position at Case Western since 2005. His responsibilities include management of intercollegiate sports, as well as academic oversight of the physical education curriculum and staff.  Prior to Case Western, Diles was director of intercollegiate athletics from 1999-2005 at NCAA Division I Eastern Michigan University, which competes in the Mid-American Conference. During his tenure there, EMU won 21 MAC titles. 

Diles was also the vice president/director of athletics at Division I St. Bonaventure University (1994-99); assistant director of athletics at Auburn University (1991-94) and Central Michigan (1989-91), director of athletics at Dexter (Mich.) Community Schools (1987-89) and administrative assistant in charge of summer camps at University of Michigan (1985-87).  He worked in the National Football League as the assistant director of public relations for the New York Jets (1984).  Diles holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Michigan.

Johnson has held his current position since 2008. His duties include management of external relations, including corporate sales, ticket sales, marketing, public relations and broadcasting. He serves as the lead administrator for baseball and secondary administrator for men’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey. He was a part of the athletic administration team that helped North Dakota transition from Division II (in all but hockey) to Division I in 2008. 

Prior to UND, he was an associate athletic director and sports information director at Texas A&M-Kingsville from 2006-08, and an associate/assistant athletic director at New Mexico State from 2001-06.  He worked in the sports information field at several universities in the early portion of his career. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Karr has been the UAF director of athletics since 2005, during which time the Nanooks have won three team and three individual NCAA titles. While leading the UAF program, he has helped the school add a women’s swimming program, establish a sports hall of fame and undergo several major facilities renovation and construction projects.  He was the school’s assistant athletic director for compliance prior to becoming AD.  From 2008-10, he has chaired the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee.

Karr was a hockey Academic All-American while playing at the University of Notre Dame and he went on to play professionally in the East Coast Hockey League.  He graduated from UND with a bachelor’s in business administration and completed a law degree at the University of Wisconsin.  He is also a graduate of the Sports Management Institute’s executive certificate program.

# # # NMU # # #

For more information, contact Calvin Larson at 906-227-1917.



Prepared By
Calvin Larson
Sports Information
906-227-2105