Keith Gill, the University of Richmond’s newly appointed athletic director, emphasized a strong commitment to both athletics and academics when he was formally introduced at a press conference held Nov. 5 in the Robins Center.
Gill was welcomed into “the beginning of a new era of University of Richmond athletics,” said Bob Black, assistant athletic director for communications.
Gill was interested in the university because the values of the institution matched those of his own, he said. Provost Steve Allred’s leadership and involvement within the selection process was particularly impressive, he said.
“When I saw that the provost was chairing the search for the director of athletics, I realized that the University of Richmond was the place for me,” Gill said. “That really showed the commitment to academics and athletics in trying to be great at both.”
Gill also acknowledged Miller for his overall accomplishments during his decade-long tenure as athletic director and indicated a strong partnership between the two.
“I’m looking forward to working with him,” Gill said. “I’m really glad he’s going to be here on staff because he’s really going to be a great resource. I’m going to lean on him heavily.”
Gill’s past experiences make him well- suited for being successful at Richmond, Miller said. “Keith is stepping into a good situation,” he said. “The Board of Trustees, faculty and university administration and staff support Spider athletics.”
In the aftermath of the administration’s decision to cut men’s soccer and track and field teams in favor of adding men’s lacrosse, Gill said it was hard to speculate what was to be expected. “I think the Board, the president and the athletic director made a decision they think will be in best interest for the long term,” he said, adding that tremendous responsibility is associated with making such decisions.
“I understand how hard that is and what a challenge that is, and sometimes people will disagree with those decisions.”
Gill has served as director of athletics and recreation at American University since June 2007, wrote Ayers in a mass email sent out last week to officially announce the new athletic director.
At American University, Gill oversaw a combined department that included 16 varsity sports teams, consisting of about 260 student athletes, as well as campus recreation, which included club sports and intramural games, he said.
Under Gill’s administration, the average student athlete GPA was 3.36, and the most recent student athlete graduation rate was 99 percent, according to Ayers’ email.
“I believe in academics,” Gill said. “I believe in making sure that every student athlete who comes to the university has a reasonable expectation of earning a degree and having a rich collegiate experience.”
Growing up in Orlando, Fla., Gill spent a fair amount of time watching sports with his father and doing homework at the behest of his mother, he said. Gill earned his bachelor’s degree from Duke University in 1994, where he played football and was a four-year letterman. Gill said he had chosen Duke because it had been the best academic school where he could play the highest level of football.
“My time at Duke was very transformative,” he said. He was inspired to pursue a career in athletic administrations to provide other students with the types of opportunities he had while at Duke, he said.
Gill wants to create a model program from an academic, competitive standpoint and service standpoint, he said.
Upon assuming his new role on Dec. 11, Gill will work on developing partnerships and connecting with the community, “making sure they embrace us the same way we embrace them,” he said. He will also strive to be very visible on campus by attending events not solely limited to athletics, he said.
Winning is important to Gill, and he hopes to “hang as many banners as possible,” he said, referring to the Spiders bringing home more championship titles. “When you look at Richmond, it has a great tradition of winning across the board in a comprehensive way,” he said.
Gill will be on campus this weekend to attend the season-opening basketball games on Friday and the football game against Delaware on Saturday, he said.
Contact reporter Mara LugoRudner at email@example.com