|Alma Mater:||Saint Thomas University|
Bill Chaves was named director of athletics at the University of North Dakota on Jan. 13, 2018 and officially began his tenure at the helm of UND Athletics on March 1, 2018.
A two-time recipient of national Athletic Director of the Year honors, Chaves came to Grand Forks after having spent the previous decade as director of athletics at Eastern Washington University.
“I would like to thank [UND] President [Mark] Kennedy and the search committee for this tremendous opportunity. I am deeply honored to have been selected to serve as UND’s next Athletics Director. My family and I are excited to become active members of the UND family and the Grand Forks community, both of which we have heard so much about. Together, I am confident we will continue UND’s tradition of academic and athletic excellence,” said Chaves at the time of his hiring.
Chaves was honored in 2015-16 for the second time by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as one of 28 winners of the Under Armour AD of the Year Award (ADOY). As one of four athletic directors in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision to be honored, he received his award during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on June 15, 2016, at NACDA's 51st Annual Convention at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Chaves also won the honor in the 2012-13 school year, and was recognized that year in Orlando, Fla.
Highlighted by the installation of the first-ever red synthetic surface in America, the tenure of Chaves at EWU was been punctuated by progress and innovation – but with a definite eye toward the future. He played an integral role in advancing an overall athletics facility vision for the department. His accomplishments also included several key revenue generation initiatives which played a major part in growing EWU's athletic department with an eye toward keeping pace with other NCAA Division I programs.
In 2015, Chaves was appointed to the NCAA Division I Council representing the Big Sky Conference, and served for three years. During his time on the council, he also served on the competition oversight committee and on the women's basketball oversight committee.
Recently, Chaves was the only Division I athletic director to serve on the 2-year NCAA Governance Working Group as requested by the NCAA’s Board of Directors. He also has served on a national working group that studied transfers.
In addition, Chaves served four years (2008-12) on the NCAA Administration Cabinet and in his last year served as chair. He also spent 2013-14 on the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct.
Within the Big Sky Conference, Chaves served on the league’s Vision and Coordination Working Group. On campus, Chaves administered the development of “Eagle Week” at EWU in the spring; helped develop a partnership with the Dave Cotton Golf Classic to benefit Meals on Wheels; served on Eastern’s Strategic Planning Committee; and negotiated EWU’s new agreement with adidas.
Chaves came to Eastern after three years as an associate athletic director for external affairs at Baylor University. He has vast experience in marketing and development at several schools, including two years at Northern Colorado (1999-2001), which became a member of the Big Sky Conference in the 2006-07 school year.
The high point of Eastern’s existence in NCAA Division I and the Big Sky Conference came under the direction of Chaves. Eastern’s football program won its final 11 games of the 2010 season and captured the NCAA Division I Championship. It was Eastern’s fourth national team title, but its first as a member of NCAA Division I. The football program also advanced to the semifinals in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
He provided the initial idea and was a driving force in having Eastern’s football field at Roos Field (formerly Woodward Field) re-surfaced in red. The project was completed in September 2010 and the Eagles were 8-0 on the red Sprinturf surface at “The Inferno” en route to the national title.
Besides the turf project, his tenure in Cheney, Wash., included several key fund-raising initiatives to help the athletic department grow and keep pace with other NCAA Division I programs. Most recently, as part of a $1.1 million project, EWU installed a new videoboard/scoreboard at Roos Field and a new videoboard at Reese Court. In addition, a seating project at Reese Court provided new seating options and upgrades for fans for the 2012-13 school year and beyond.
Eastern also completed a $1.5 million locker-room project that enhanced all of Eastern’s 14 athletic programs. His guidance also helped provide a new throws area for the track and field program, as well as improvements to the strength and conditioning center and a dedicated student-athlete academic facility.
In addition, membership in the Eagle Athletic Association reached a record milestone with more than 2,000 members. He also negotiated new media agreements for Eastern radio and television broadcasts, as well as a new third-party sponsorship sales agreement.
Also lucrative for Eastern was his negotiating and scheduling of football games against several NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools, including Washington, Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon. Games versus UW and WSU marked the first time in more than 100 years that Eastern had played either of its in-state rivals on the gridiron.
In the community, Chaves made regular speaking engagements, including Kiwanis and Rotary, was a current member of the Spokane Athletic Club and Rotary Club 21 (Spokane). He worked on numerous proposals in association with the Spokane Regional Sports Commission, and initiated a partnership with Special Olympics-Washington where all of its athletic programs assist with several initiatives each academic year.
Eastern’s success on the field and in the classroom was also impressive. EWU’s sports teams have had collective grade point averages in excess of 3.3 and have had a greater than 3.0 GPA since the Fall Quarter of 2007.
In the 2009-10 school year, Eastern won its first Big Sky Presidents’ Cup Award. The winner of this award is determined by overall athletic success combined with team grade point averages, graduation rates, and all-conference performers with grade point averages of at least 3.0. The Eagles jumped to the top of the Presidents’ Cup standings with a first-place finish in academics, compiling the highest overall grade point average in the league at 3.244.
Eastern added its second and third President's Cup trophies in 2014-15 and 2015-16 while finishing second in 2016-17 to North Dakota.
Chaves continues to pass along three key philosophies to his student-athletes: 1) Earn your degree; 2) Be a leader; and 3) Perform athletically to your highest level.
Eastern earned multiple Big Sky Player of the Year honors during his EWU tenure, and the football team garnered two Walter Payton Award winners (Bo Levi Mitchell and Cooper Kupp) and two Buck Buchanan Awards (J.C. Sherritt and Greg Peach). Under his direction, Eastern started a year-end awards show and celebration for student-athletes called the “EeeWoos.”
In addition, five EWU coaches won Coach of the Year honors in the Big Sky Conference – Miles Kydd (volleyball), Wendy Schuller (women’s basketball), Darren Haworth (tennis) Beau Baldwin (football) and Jim Hayford (men’s basketball). Baldwin also earned national coach of the year accolades after his team’s 2010 national title.
EWU’s football program had seven playoff berths in an 11-year span (2007-17) under Chaves. The women’s basketball program won the Big Sky regular-season title in the 2009-10 school year, and appeared in three NIT Tournaments (2010-2013-2015) – winning it’s first-ever national postseason game in 2015.
Under Chaves’ leadership, the men’s basketball team made their second all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2015 by virtue of winning the Big Sky Tournament in Missoula, Mont. In 2016, the men’s program won its first-ever postseason game as a member of NCAA Division I with a victory over Pepperdine in the College Basketball Invitational.
His first year at the helm at EWU began with the football team finishing 9-4 and advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2007 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Also in 2007-08, Eastern won the Big Sky Conference title in men’s tennis – Eastern’s first-ever championship in that sport.
In his second year at the helm, Eastern’s volleyball program won the Big Sky regular season title and host status for the 2009 league tournament.
Chaves has also served on the Big Sky Conference Championship and Competition Committee since 2008, including as chair from 2010-12. Since 2010 he has also served on the league’s Eligibility Committee.
Besides three years at Baylor, Chaves was also at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as an assistant athletic director (2002-04) and at Northeastern University as director of external affairs for the athletic department (2001-02).
Chaves was also sports information director from 1990-95 at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. Chaves received his bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Saint Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla., in 1988. He received the first of two master’s degrees from Oklahoma State in 1991 in health, physical education and leisure. He earned a second master’s degree in sport management in 1999 from Massachusetts.
Chaves was born June 2, 1966. He and his wife of 23 years, Liz, have a daughter, Erin (18), and two sons, Derek (15) and Kevin (13).