University of Alaska Anchorage Vice Chancellor Bill Spindle on Wednesday announced the hiring of Keith Hackett as the school’s new athletic director.
A university and administrative management executive with 36 years of higher education experience, Hackett comes to the Seawolves after working the past nine years as the senior associate AD for internal affairs at the University of Nevada, where he oversaw the football, track and field/cross country and baseball programs.
“We are very excited to bring Keith Hackett on board as our next AD,” said Spindle. “He’s passionate, knowledgeable and he has a deep commitment to the success of student-athletes, both in the athletic and academic arenas. Through the search process, it was apparent that Keith has a breadth of experience in both higher education and intercollegiate athletics, plus an ability to communicate with the various constituencies–on campus and in the local community–that support Seawolf Athletics.”
Spindle said Hackett will be in Anchorage for an introductory press conference Friday, Sept. 20, at 2:30 p.m. Following the press conference, Seawolf Athletics will host a meet-and-greet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Both events will be in UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307.
Hackett said he is excited to get started at UAA.
“I am both honored and humbled to be the choice of the UAA Athletic Director Search Committee and look forward to meeting our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the entire Anchorage community,” he said. “Our highest priority will always be the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes. We have excellent coaches and programs, and I look forward to assisting them in their quest for excellence in the classroom and on the field of play.”
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities with specific teams, Hackett was involved with donor relations and major gifts, budget, human and physical resource management, and alumni and community relations at Nevada. As a key member of the Wolf Pack’s senior leadership team, he was responsible for oversight of all athletics department capital projects, development of the department’s first athletic facilities master plan and event management for all home contests.
Prior to his time in Reno, Hackett served as executive vice president for special projects and was director of the St. Gregory’s University College for Working Adults in Tulsa, Okla. He also served as executive vice president and provost at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Okla., from 1997-2004. He worked at Oklahoma City University as vice president for admissions and enrollment management/dean of admissions for law, graduate and undergraduate admissions from 1992-97, and as dean of students from 1986-89.
From 1989-92, Hackett was the associate AD at Northern Illinois University, where he oversaw eight Div. I sports, including football and men’s and women’s basketball.
The native of Nanuet, N.Y., began his college coaching and teaching career at Baker University in Baldwin, Kan., where he was head baseball coach from 1978-83 and assistant football coach from 1977-83. From there, he went on to coach offensive line for the football program at Div. I Memphis from 1983-85.
At UAA, Hackett will take over a program featuring 13 NCAA sports, including Div. I men’s hockey and women’s gymnastics. The Seawolves, who compete primarily at the Div. II level, are riding a string of five straight years in the NACDA Director’s Cup top 50, including the past two seasons in the top 25. UAA’s skiing, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and men’s cross country teams have all produced top-four national finishes since 2008, and the men’s track and field/cross country program has produced five individual NCAA titles.
Hackett earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Tarkio (Mo.) College in 1976 and an M.S. in education from the University of Kansas in 1979.
He and his wife Patricia have been married for 37 years and have two adult children, Katie and James.
What people’re saying about Keith Hackett:
Doug Knuth – director of athletics, University of Nevada
“I consider Keith a consummate professional and a veteran administrator who has had success every place he’s been. He’s one of the most engaging people I know and has a high amount of integrity. He will do a fantastic job.”
Chris Ault – former Nevada head coach/member of College Football Hall of Fame
“He’s really a quality person. That’s the thing that I really enjoyed about Keith. The last five or six years he was really the day-to-day AD on our campus. I think (UAA has) hired somebody who is certainly well-trained, has been in the trenches and is a very good people person. He was in charge of football at Nevada, but the most important thing is that he’s got a diverse skill set. He’s the guy that will take initiative, get answers and solve problems.”
Dutch Baughman – executive director, 1A Athletic Directors Association
“Keith is absolutely ready, capable and prepared for the responsibility of becoming a director of athletics. He is one of those folks early on who realized he has a passion for becoming an AD, and he’s studied and worked extraordinarily hard to gain the skills and experience necessary for the job. As impressed as I am with Keith and how hard he has prepared for his opportunity, I’m even more impressed with his personal character. He has a very strong commitment to values, is serious about leadership and clearly understands how athletics fits into the fabric of higher education and the institution.”
Bret Gilliland – deputy commissioner, Mountain West Conference
“Keith Hackett has been the ‘go-to guy’ for our staff during Nevada’s tenure in the Mountain West. Keith’s upbeat personality and positive attitude were instrumental during a transitional period for the conference and the Wolf Pack. We certainly wish him the best with this new endeavor.”
Jeff Hurd – commissioner, Western Athletic Conference
“I’ve worked with Keith for several years and I can truly say that he is a class act. He is intelligent, outgoing and a quality individual. There is nobody more deserving to be an athletic director–at any level–than Keith. He’s worked his whole career to get an opportunity like this and we couldn’t be more excited for him.”