MARQUETTE, Mich. – Forrest Karr was named the Northern Michigan University director of athletics, recreational sports and the United States Olympic Education Center/special assistant to the president today in an announcement made by NMU President David Haynes. He officially begins his new position Monday, June 11.
Karr is currently the director of athletics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He was one of three finalists considered for the Wildcat athletic director position.
“I'm grateful to my friends, co-workers, and the many Nanook supporters who have made the last eight years in Fairbanks so memorable. I have always considered it a privilege to work for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. While Alaska is a remarkable place, and it’s difficult to leave people I love working with, moving on to a new position and another great community closer to family is very exciting. I am fully committed to ensuring a quality experience in every way for Northern Michigan University students. And, I look forward to working with the department's dedicated and talented staff to make this happen,” said Karr.
Karr has been the UAF director of athletics since 2005, during which time the Nanooks have won three team and three individual NCAA titles. Also during his tenure, the department set an NCAA attendance record while hosting the 2007 NCAA Rifle Championships, the Nanook hockey team participated in the 2010 NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time and the Nanook women’s cross country team competed in the 2011 NCAA DII championships for the first time.
UAF is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Central Collegiate Ski Association, Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference and Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
“Forrest Karr is a great fit to be NMU’s athletic director,” said Haynes. “He comes into the position with outstanding leadership and management skills. He understands both NCAA Division I hockey and Division II intercollegiate programs, having been involved with both as a collegian and an administrator. He’s been innovative and successful at UAF and has more than enough motivation and creativity to take Wildcat athletics to the next level of success. Forrest received tremendous support from all of the NMU groups that interacted with him during the interview process.”
While leading the Nanooks program, Karr helped the school add a women’s swimming program, establish a hall of fame, undergo several facilities renovation and construction projects, and develop an academic minor in sports management. He was UAF’s assistant athletic director for compliance prior to becoming AD. From 2008-10, he chaired the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee and previously clerked in the NCAA General Counsel’s Office.
Karr also chaired the statewide Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska in 2009 where he led the agency through the process of hiring a CEO. He has served as a member of the National Ski Patrol for six years and co-chaired the 2010 United Way of the Tanana Valley’s fundraising campaign.
Karr played Division I hockey and was an Academic All-American while attending the University of Notre Dame. He earned the team’s most valuable player honor as a senior. 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.
“With the hiring of Forrest, on top of a very strong group of both experienced and new coaches, a capable and energetic staff, and supportive Board of Trustees, Northern is poised to take its athletic program to another level,” said Rick Popp, member of the NMU Board of Trustees, a former Wildcat football player and an honorary member of the AD search committee. “The search process included more than 100 candidates, with several who could potentially perform the job. The board commends those involved in the search process and recognizes President Haynes for stepping into his new role and immediately ensuring that Forrest Karr was supported by all key constituents as the best fit for NMU. This is certainly a great day to be a Wildcat.”
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