Shawn Eichorst, who is in his second year in Coral Gables, was named the University of Miami's 12th Director of Athletics on April 12, 2011. Eichorst arrived at Miami after serving from 2009-11 as the Deputy AD at the University of Wisconsin, where his responsibilities under Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez included serving as the department's Chief Operating Officer and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the highly successful athletics program. Eichorst resigned on Oct. 4, 2012.
"Shawn Eichorst has the skills, experience, and philosophy to elevate UM athletics and exceed our highest expectations," University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala said at his introductory press conference.
In his first year as Director of Athletics at Miami, Eichorst helped grow the academic reputation of an already sterling program with NCAA Top 10 recognition in Academic Progress Rates (APR) for five programs - football, baseball, men's diving, women's cross country and women's golf. During the 2011-12 academic year, 149 student-athletes made the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll and 70 have earned their degrees.
Under his watchful eye, the Hurricane Club grew by more than 500 members and now totals more than 5,000 members nationwide and $19 million in student-athlete support was generated in 2011-12. An additional $14.2 million in capital gifts has been raised towards the Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence facility project, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2013.
During his first year, both the men's and women's basketball programs advanced to the postseason; the women posted the highest national ranking in school history (No. 5 overall) and advanced to the NCAA second round, while the men set a program record for conference wins and advanced to the NIT second round. The women's tennis team advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals (Elite Eight) for the fourth straight season. The baseball program extended its NCAA postseason appearances record streak to 40 straight seasons. The women's soccer team posted the first NCAA postseason win in program history and the volleyball team advanced to the NCAA postseason for the third consecutive year and finished the season ranked 15th nationally.
Other first-year accomplishments included long-term contract extensions for head football coach Al Golden, head men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga, and head women's basketball coach Katie Meier; a strategic review of all operations; reorganization of the senior management team; enhanced branding at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field; the BankUnited Center and inside the Hecht Athletic Center; as well as new scoreboards for the James L. Knight Sports Complex and Cobb Stadium.
"I am truly humbled and honored to have the tremendous opportunity to lead and build upon the University of Miami's rich tradition of excellence in athletics. Under President Donna Shalala's great vision, passion and leadership, the University of Miami has quickly developed into not only the best institution in the state of Florida, but one of the top research universities in the United States," Eichorst said upon his arrival. "The success of our student-athlete - academically, athletically and socially - will always be our foremost objective."
Under his leadership at Wisconsin, the department consisted of 23 intercollegiate athletics programs, 850 student-athletes, 320 full-time employees and operated from a $90 million budget. He was involved in the design and planning of a new $36 million ice hockey/swim facility that is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2012, as well as with the student-athlete performance center in the north end zone of Camp Randall Stadium which began construction in the fall of 2011 at a cost of $70+ million. He joined the Badgers' staff in 2006 as a Senior Associate Athletic Director and was promoted to Executive Associate Athletic Director in 2007.
Eichorst previously worked at the University of South Carolina, serving as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Administration from 2004-06 and as the Interim Director of Athletics in June 2005. Working with the Gamecocks, he oversaw the department's daily operations as well as the football (Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier) and baseball (Ray Tanner) programs. The football team was bowl-eligible each year during Eichorst's tenure and the baseball program competed in the 2004 College World Series. Additionally, he facilitated and supervised multimillion-dollar facility projects, including a state-of-the-art football training facility, partnership/sponsorship agreements and substantial department organizational and policy growth.
A native of Lone Rock, Wis., Eichorst was an all-conference defensive back, three-time letterwinner and 1990 team captain for the UW-Whitewater football team. He graduated magna cum laude in business from UW-Whitewater in 1990 and earned a law degree from Marquette University in 1995. In 2006, he was awarded the Sports Law Alumnus of the Year by Marquette. He also is a graduate of the Sports Management Institute and serves on its Executive Committee.
Eichorst practiced law in Milwaukee until 1999, when he was hired by UW-Whitewater as Director of Athletics, which he led until 2003. Under his tenure, UW-Whitewater developed into one of the nation's top Division III athletic programs, with four top 10 percent National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Directors Cup finishes; one NCAA team championship; four NCAA team national runner-up finishes and seven individual NCAA champions. The program also featured an NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year for Wisconsin, 84 All-Americans, 38 Academic All-America selections and nine NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners.
He is a past member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors. He also previously served as an assistant adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School, where he taught classes in sports law. He currently serves on the Marquette University National Sports Law Institute Board of Advisors.
Eichorst and his wife Kristin have three sons: Jack, Joseph and Bennett.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT SHAWN EICHORST
Al Golden, University of Miami head football coach
"I commend President Shalala and Paul DiMare on the hiring of Shawn Eichorst,” head football coach Al Golden said. “During my interactions with Shawn, his innate leadership skills shined and his track record at major BCS schools will benefit all of our teams at the University of Miami.”
Barry Alvarez, Legendary Wisconsin football coach and Director of Athletics
"Shawn made a great contribution to our athletic program. He is very bright and he is a hard worker. Like Donna Shalala, Shawn's concern is always for the welfare of the student-athletes. I'm very confident that the coaching staffs at Miami will enjoy his leadership. He will make a tremendous contribution. His wife, Kristin, and their family will be an asset to the Miami community."
"He's got a tremendous background," Alvarez said. "He was a college athlete. He has a law degree, practiced law. He was his own boss, ran his own program, albeit Division III initially. He worked at South Carolina, oversaw football with (Steve) Spurrier, (Lou) Holtz. I've given him a lot of responsibilities here. He's very bright. He knows athletics, understands coaches and athletes. He's a guy that works extremely hard, gets along great with people."
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin men's basketball coach
"Shawn is a pleasure to work with. What I really like and appreciated about him is that he gave me and my staff the intellectual and professional freedom to be ourselves. He does a great job of deferring to the abilities of those who work for him."
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin football coach
"Speaking from a football standpoint, I called Al (Golden) and told him how highly I think of Shawn. He knows the business side of things, but he's also great with the people side. I think it will be a great partnership between Shawn and the Miami football staff."
Dr. Mike McGee, former South Carolina Director of Athletics
"I became acquainted with Shawn through his participation at the Sports Management Institute. He was one of the most outstanding graduates we've had in that program and when we had an opening at South Carolina, we hired him. It was one of the best decisions we made."
Ray Tanner, Legendary South Carolina baseball coach and Director of Athletics
"I'm very happy that Shawn and his family have this opportunity at Miami. He has a superior knowledge of athletic administration and he is well-respected among coaches around the country. He will be a tremendous asset to the Hurricane student-athletes and staff."