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WVU’s Luck accepts executive vice president position with NCAA

By WVU Relations/News

MORGANTOWN W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Associate Vice President Oliver Luck has accepted the newly created position of executive vice president of regulatory affairs with the National Collegiate Athletic Association effective Jan. 15, WVU President Gordon Gee and NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Wednesday (Dec. 17). Nearly 1,100 colleges and universities are members of the non-profit association headquartered in Indianapolis.Luck 2

“Oliver has a storied history with West Virginia University,” said WVU President Gordon Gee. “From his days as an outstanding student-athlete where he led us to great victories on the gridiron, to his service as a member of our Board of Governors, to his role in advancing our athletic programs and the life of the student-athlete, he has always embodied the Mountaineer spirit of perseverance and success. Indeed, his leadership has changed the face of WVU athletics, and I thank him for his dedicated efforts.”

He added, “I have greatly enjoyed working with Oliver this past year, and wish him and his family all the best in future years. And, we fully anticipate seeing him back in Morgantown to cheer on his Mountaineers.”

In his four and a half years at WVU, Luck helped guide the University into a power conference, the Big 12; initiated a new $21 million baseball park project in the county set for a spring 2015 opening; spearheaded the modernization of many athletic facilities, including a new football team room, men’s and women’s basketball facility and women’s soccer training complex; implemented several safety and crowd enhancements at athletic venues; and increased overall department revenue.

He also added an 18th varsity sport, men’s golf, which will get under way in 2015, made several key coaching hires, initiated a 12-year media rights contract and spearheaded the $75 million bond to help finance the facilities modernization plan.

Luck also represented WVU on a national level. Most recently, he was named to serve a three-year term on the College Football Playoff Committee, which recently named their national championship team contenders. He also serves on the NFL Player Safety Advisory Committee and chairs the Big 12 Budget and Finance Committee.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve my alma mater as director of athletics for the past four and a half years,” Luck said. “As those who have spent time in West Virginia know, this is truly a special place. It’s been an incredible experience for me to work with some of the best administrators, faculty, coaches, staff, student-athletes, fans, media and alumni in the nation. As a member of the Big 12, the University is well-positioned for future success and I know that great things lie ahead for WVU. My wife, Kathy, and I will always cherish our time in Morgantown and we will forever be Mountaineers.

“This is a time of fundamental change in intercollegiate athletics that will set the foundation for the years ahead,” Luck added. “The challenges both internal and external to the NCAA present a unique opportunity to help shape the landscape for hundreds of thousands of young men and women. It is an honor to join President Emmert, the NCAA staff and our member institutions in this journey. I look forward to partnering with campus executives, administrators, coaches and student-athletes to enhance the intercollegiate athletics experience.”

Prior to joining WVU in July 2010, Luck was president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo, the Major League Soccer franchise in Houston, Texas.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he played quarterback for the Mountaineers from 1978-1981, setting school records for touchdown passes and completions and leading the team to a Peach Bowl victory over Florida as a senior.

He was named MVP in 1980 and 1981, and also earned the 1981 Louis D. Meisel Award for the WVU scholar athlete with the highest grade-point average.

In 1982, he was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the Houston Oilers, and either started or played back-up quarterback through the 1986 season. During that time, he earned his law degree from the University of Texas cum laude.

After retiring from football, Luck became vice president of business development for the National Football League and president and CEO of NFL Europe. In 2001, he became chief executive officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority.

He became president of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo in 2005.

He was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director Keli Cunningham will serve as interim director of athletics, effective immediately, until a permanent athletic director is named.

Cunningham has been with the WVU Athletic Department since 2010, overseeing compliance and managing the daily operations of the administration.

“We plan to move swiftly to find the best fit in a new athletic director to lead our programs, coaches and student-athletes into a new era of Mountaineer athletics,” Gee said.

Luck and his wife, Kathy, have two sons and two daughters: Andrew, a former All-American quarterback and two-time Heisman Trophy finalist at Stanford and No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts; Mary Ellen, a standout volleyball player and graduate of Stanford; Emily, a current student at Stanford; and Addison, a student at Morgantown High School, who played center-mid this past season on the West Virginia High School State Championship soccer team.

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