Brad Fields ’98 returns to Centre College as new AD
After a nationwide search, Brad Fields, a 1998 graduate of Centre College, will return to his alma mater as director of athletics and recreation. Fields currently serves as director of athletics and athletic development at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., an NCAA Division III school that competes in the Middle Atlantic Conference. He will begin his duties May 20.
“We are excited to welcome back one of our own to take on this important leadership position,” said John A. Roush, president of Centre College. “Since graduating from Centre, Brad’s training for this job has been textbook, and his series of increasingly important assignments in athletics prepare him well for this new challenge. He understands and wholeheartedly embraces the philosophy of Division III athletics, and our student-athletes and their coaches will find in Brad a true champion for athletic and academic success.”
A native of Ashland, Ky., Fields earned a B.S. degree at Centre with a double major in economics and Spanish. He later earned an M.S. degree in sports management, with an emphasis in intercollegiate administration, from California University of Pennsylvania. His graduate-level work included courses in ethics, finance, leadership, legal aspects of sport, management, NCAA compliance, public relations, sports marketing, and Title IX.
“As a proud alumnus, it is a challenge to put into words the profound impact Centre has had in shaping me—not just in my four years as an undergraduate, but through the lifelong relationships I enjoy with so many who continue to be a positive influence,” said Fields.
“To combine my passion for Division III athletics and Centre College is truly aspecial opportunity,” Fields added. “I believe that Centre athletics is poised to become one of the elite Division III programs in the country, joining Centre’s presence on the national academic landscape. I am grateful for the outstanding foundation laid by so many before me, including the tireless work of [former AD] Brian Chafin.”
Fields began his career in 1999 at the University of South Carolina Aiken, an NCAA Division II school that competes in the Peach Belt Conference and fields 11 collegiate teams. He served as sports information director for four years at USC Aiken before being promoted to assistant athletic director. His work won numerous awards from CoSIDA, the College Sports Information Directors of America. Fields returned to Kentucky in 2008, taking the position of director of athletic media relations at Western Kentucky University, a Division I program competing in the Sun Belt Conference. From there, Fields moved in 2010 to his present position as AD at Eastern University, which fields 16 intercollegiate sports.
During his tenure at Eastern, the Eagles combined for six regular season conference titles, eight conference tournament crowns, and 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including an NCAA Final Four trip by volleyball in 2011. In addition, Eastern student-athletes achieved a graduation rate 16.7 percent higher that the rest of the student body, maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.11 this past academic year.
Bettie Ann Brigham, vice president for student development at Eastern University, said that Fields’ success results from a combination of important skills. “Brad’s unique approach to leadership combines a gentle interpersonal style with a fiercely goal-focused drive for excellence in athletics,” she said. “We are very sorry to lose him; however, we hope that Centre will benefit from the experiences he has had while here. His humor, drive, and relationship-building abilities, as well as his sweet family, will be greatly missed.”
Ken Andrews, executive director of the Middle Atlantic Conference echoes these sentiments. “One is immediately struck by the importance Brad places on an overall philosophy and set of principles that always considers what’s best longterm for the student-athlete,” said Andrews.
“Because of this, he has stood out as a real leader in our large athletic conference of 18 schools, and it’s been a pleasure having Brad serve as one of just six ADs on our conference operations committee.”
The search committee composed of students, faculty, staff, and two board of trustee members, reviewed application materials from 70 experienced candidates. “I truly believe we found the right fit in Brad Fields,” said Randy Hays, vice president and dean of student life, who served as the committee’s vice chair. “I look forward to working with Brad in the coming months,” Hays added, “and I know that he will make a profound difference for good in the lives of our student-athletes.”
Fields will be joined by his wife, Julie, and their two young daughters, Maddie and Emmalyn.
By Michael Strysick