Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jim Abbott of Oklahoma City University has been lauded as NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year for the second time for outstanding accomplishments in athletics administration and service to the NAIA.
Abbott previously garnered National Athletic Director of the Year from the NAIA in 2008-09. He has been honored as NAIA AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics in 2009-10 and 2014-15.
In 2016-17, the Sooner Athletic Conference bestowed its Athletic Director of the Year honor on Abbott for the second year in a row and fifth time overall to be nominated for the national acclaim. Abbott has been SAC Athletic Director of the Year previously in 2007-08, 2008-09, 2013-14 and 2015-16.
Abbott oversees Oklahoma City’s 21 intercollegiate athletic programs including more than 300 student-athletes. He will be presented with his award during the NAIA national convention April 13-17, 2018 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.
The Stars collected their first Directors’ Cup trophy in 2016-17. Oklahoma City captured four NAIA championships in competitive cheerleading, women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball, propelling OCU to its first Directors’ Cup crown as the No. 1 athletic department in the NAIA. The Stars achieved in the classroom with a 3.1 combined grade-point average.
In 2016-17, the Stars won conference championships in baseball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, softball and volleyball, sweeping both the regular-season and tournament titles in baseball, women’s basketball, softball and volleyball.
“Jim’s leadership has been an inspiration to many,” Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry said. “He is passionate about developing academically talented, well-rounded student-athletes who excel in sports and in service to others. Oklahoma City University athletics has a rich tradition of success. I am delighted to see Jim receive this well-deserved honor.”
OCU has won 66 national championships in all sports – 44 under Abbott’s guidance in 15 years.
“Jim Abbott has a long-standing tenure of excellent service and achievement within the NAIA, but his accomplishments during the 2016-17 athletic season alone were quite remarkable,” SAC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “What truly amazes me about Jim is his desire to always contribute to the greater good, and certainly the widespread success across OCU’s athletic department serves as a testament to Jim’s ability to make a positive impact on those around him.”
In addition to serving as OCU athletic director, Abbott is active as a member of the NACDA Executive Council, NAIA Membership Committee, Jim Thorpe Association Executive Council, vice chairman of the NAIA Hall of Fame selection committee, the Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium, NAIA Athletic Director’s Association Board of Directors and serves as staff sponsor for the OCU Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle.
Abbott has previously served as president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association and as a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council. Abbott has been a panelist and presenter at numerous NAIA and NACDA conventions.
Abbott has worked in athletic and higher education administration for more than 25 years, including a previous stint at OCU as assistant athletic director from 1991-94. Abbott earned a master’s of science degree in sports administration from the University of Oklahoma and bachelor’s degrees in business administration and physical education from Huntingdon (Ala.) College.
Abbott and his wife Annetta have two children (Kyle and Katelyn).