While our community continues to cope with and heal following the tragic death of Tyler Hilinski last week, I want to share some uplifting news with you regarding our athletics program. As many of you are already aware, Patrick Chun accepted our offer to become WSU’s new athletics director last week.

Hiring Pat is truly a game-changing day for our athletics program. When we began our search, we focused on identifying candidates with a blend of high-level leadership experience, vision, and passion—an individual who could lead Cougar athletics to the next level of success.

In Pat, we’ve found that person. He brings more than 20 years of experience as a successful administrator of intercollegiate athletics programs at Florida Atlantic University and The Ohio State University to WSU. His achievements in fundraising, boosting the academic success rate of student athletes, and building strong relationships with the community—on- and off-campus—are exemplary.

Hiring Pat also advances our institutional commitment to diversity and continues our emphasis on diversifying WSU’s senior leadership team. In addition, Pat becomes the first Asian American athletic director to lead a Power 5 school.

We will officially welcome Pat to the WSU community at a news conference and reception at 11 a.m. tomorrow, January 23, in the Rankich Club Room at Martin Stadium. He will begin his duties at WSU on February 5 and soon will travel the state to meet Cougar fans. You can learn more about Pat in WSU Insider, our online source for system-wide news, and on the WSU Athletics website.

I also want to thank interim athletics director John Johnson for maintaining the momentum of Cougar athletics the past few months. He has ensured we keep outstanding coaches in the WSU fold and led a spike in contributions to the Cougar Athletic Fund.

Finally, I greatly appreciate the yeoman efforts of our search advisory committee members—June Daugherty, Abu Kamara, Greg Rankich, Gary Schneidmiller, Nancy Swanger, and Jack Thompson—to identify our new director of athletics.

Please join me and the rest of Cougar Nation in giving Pat, his wife Natalie, and their 3 daughters, Vanna, Kennedy, and Gretta, a warm welcome to our community!

Kirk Schulz, President
Washington State University