Tennessee Tech's Mark Wilson was named in June as one of four
winners of the Athletic Director of the Year Award for the Football
Championship Subdivision, an honor that is selected and presented
by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
“I am humbled that Tennessee Tech’s faculty athletic representative, Dr. Jeff Roberts, nominated me, and I'm honored to be selected by my peers at NACDA for this award," Wilson said. "I love working hard for our student-athletes and community so they have pride in everything Tennessee Tech Athletics.”
TTU President Philip Oldham recognized the efforts that led to Wilson's selection.
“Mark Wilson’s accomplishments and leadership have earned him this award and the respect of his peers and colleagues,” Oldham said. “Most importantly, Mark measures his own successes by how well TTU student-athletes perform in the classroom and on the field. His expectations and vision for our athletic programs continue to represent the university well.”
Upon his arrival at Tennessee Tech in 2004, Wilson embarked on an ambitious enhancement program to improve every facet of intercollegiate athletics at Tennessee Tech. Tennessee Tech’s annual team GPA improved from a 2.79 in 2003-04 to 3.16 in spring semester 2013, including an all-time high semester of 3.2 in the spring of 2010. Private fundraising has enhanced facilities for TTU student-athletes, highlighted by the construction of a 25,000 square-foot Athletic Performance Center and state-of-the-art basketball offices. He initiated a new branding and standard graphic identity program for regional and national recognition of TTU athletics and under his leadership, TTU’s teams have been highly active supporting community outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Mustard Seed Ranch (a local home for disadvantaged youth).
Wilson’s hiring decisions have also paid off. Twenty-two Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular season and tournament championships have been won, along with the 2012 OVC Sportsmanship Award. The 2011 football team under Watson Brown won its first conference championship since 1975. Sytia Messer’s (TTU’s first female African-American head coach) and Jim Davis’ women’s basketball teams have won two OVC championships in the last three seasons. The tennis team, under the direction of two-time OVC Coach of the Year Kenny Doyle, has gone unbeaten in OVC play while winning the regular season championship each of the past two years.
Wilson, 44, has served as chair of the OVC Board of Director of
Athletics and represented the OVC on the NCAA Leadership Council.
Wilson currently serves on the FCS ADA Executive Committee and the
NCAA Division I Football Championship Committee and Football Issues
Wilson's first nine years as Director of Athletics at TTU have showcased his vision, energy, and enthusiasm for providing outstanding experiences for Tech’s student-athletes and fans. In addition to major improvements in Tennessee Tech’s athletics facilities, high graduation and APR rates by Golden Eagle student-athletes, and outstanding academic success, Wilson has also cultivated excellent relationships with the campus, community and alumni.
In short, Wilson has facilitated growth and excellence in all areas of TTU Athletics.
Following an appointment on the NCAA Leadership Council, Wilson
is currently serving a four-year term on the NCAA Division I
Football Championship Committee and Division I Football Issues
Committee, and has been active in the Ohio Valley Conference
Another step achieved under Wilson’s direction has been increased fund raising and development efforts with the goal of providing the necessary facilities and resources for Tech’s student-athletes, coaches and staff.
Wilson also developed a strategic plan for Tech’s athletic
facilities and has already seen some of those plans become reality.
During the past six years Tech has completed several construction
and renovation projects to athletic facilities, including a
spectacular, new Athletic Performance Center on the western edge of
campus, a spacious, new basketball office complex in Eblen Center,
a new natural grass practice field, installation of new turf
in Tucker Stadium, renovating the running track, renovating the
football offices, meeting rooms and locker rooms, and new lights at
Additional building plans call for a new student-athlete center and an on-campus tennis center.
All of those accomplishments have come while the department has continued to stay focused on compliance with all NCAA rules and regulations. The most recent NCAA announcements show that all 14 of Tech’s athletic programs are comfortably above the benchmark for compliance in the Athletic Progress Rate (APR).
Just as important are the relationships that Wilson has developed and nurtured, including the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, the student body, the campus community and the region at-large. His leadership has been instrumental in the overwhelming success in the community’s host role at Tucker Stadium for the annual Blue Cross Bowl for the TSSAA high school state championship football games.
Tech has also seen growth in regional and national media exposure for its student-athletes and coaches while his hands-on approach to marketing and branding Golden Eagle Athletics has earned increased opportunities and involvement for fans and sponsors. Some of the ideas he has implemented include the Purple Pride Caravans, a new athletics logo and branding marks that have gained nationwide recognition, and an updated and modern ticketing system.
Wilson was named Director of Athletics on July 1, 2004. He came to Tennessee Tech from a position of Associate Athletic Director at Ohio University. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Athletic Marketing for the University of Massachusetts, worked as a graduate assistant in the UMass athletic department and interned with the Northwestern University ticketing and marketing departments.
Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in 1991 from the
University of Maine in physical education and health, and earned
his master’s in sports management from the University of
Massachusetts in 1994. Mark has two daughters, Katey (18) and