Wichita State names new athletic director

Wichita State University announced the hiring of its new athletic director. Kevin Saal comes to...
Wichita State University announced the hiring of its new athletic director. Kevin Saal comes to WSU from Murray State.(Murray State University)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 5:24 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Wichita State University on Wednesday announced the hiring of its new athletic director. Wichita State is hiring Kevin Saal, who has been athletic director at Murray State since March 2019. A news release from the university said Saal will take the reins of the Shocker Athletics program next month.

“This is a new day for Shocker Athletics. As we look to the future of our program, I am incredibly pleased to welcome Kevin to Shocker Nation. Kevin returns to his home state of Kansas with a strong, forward-thinking vision for our men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics programs,” says Wichita State President Rick Muma. “Kevin is just the person to move WSU’s athletics program forward and push it to even greater heights.”

The news release from WSU said Saal led Murray State through two conference realignment/transition processes and “has grown the department to new heights with increases in student-athlete APR, league championships, and appearances in NCAA tournament and post-season play.”

Before coming to Murray State, Saal spent 12 years at the University of Kentucky, where he held various roles before being named executive associate director of athletics.

Saal, 44, is from Kansas and worked at Kansas State University from 2000 to 2005, serving as event coordinator with administrative responsibilities supporting men’s and women’s golf and rowing. From 2005 to 2007, he was director of operations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In 2000, Saal earned his master’s degree in athletics administration from the University of Arkansas where he’d competed as a swimming and diving student-athlete.

Saal and his wife Jennifer — also a native of Kansas— have two college-age sons, the Wichita State news release said.

“Jennifer and I are eager to return to our home state to engage and partner with Shocker student-athletes, coaches, administration, alumni, supporters and the greater Wichita community,” Saal said. “With much work to be done, I look forward to continuing to develop WSU’s championship culture through our strategic vision, core values, a first-class student-athlete experience and, ultimately, competitive excellence. Go Shockers!”

Wichita State said the search for its next athletic director was led by Muma with guidance from Parker Executive Search and a Search Advisory Group that included the following:

  • Angela Buckner, former WSU Women’s Basketball student-athlete and recreation director for Woodard Recreation Center, Fairmount Community Center and Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center
  • Lynn Nichols, chair-elect, WSU Foundation Board and CEO of Yingling Aviation
  • Nate Robertson, former WSU Men’s Baseball student-athlete, retired professional baseball player, Maize High School assistant baseball coach, and partner at the Candle Club and LaVela
  • John Rolfe, WSU alumnus and president and CEO, Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Clay Stoldt, faculty athletic representative and interim dean of the College of Applied Studies
  • Evan Wessel, former WSU Men’s Basketball student-athlete and financial advisor, Stoutheart Financial Group

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