New UM athletic director Richard ‘excited’ about opportunities
By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor
MONTEVALLO — It’s safe to say that recently hired University of Montevallo athletic director Mark Richard brings a wealth of experience to the Falcons’ athletic department. Richard, who was named to the position June 12, has more than 26 years in collegiate sports administration.
With stops at Auburn, Vanderbilt and UNLV, Richard is well-versed in the student-athlete experience. It was during his time at Auburn that he became aware of Montevallo through a colleague named Larry Long, he said.
“Being at Auburn, you get to know all of the state schools,” he said. “(The job) came open, (and I) took a look at it.”
In addition to his experience with the administration side of college sports, Richard was a two-sport athlete in baseball and football at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Richard said Montevallo’s ability to produce athletes that balance sports and studies was something he appreciated.
“One of the philosophies of Division-II is life with a balance,” he said. “They do a great job with that. It is academics first and foremost.”
Richard went on to say that he planned to be heavily involved with the student-athlete advisory committee, as well as setting goals for academic awards. Richard also said he planned to take in as much as he could from those around him.
“My first thing is to hit the ground listening,” he said. “Meet with all the coaches (and) key people on campus. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve worked at some great institutions. Academics are what intercollegiate sports is all about in my mind. It’s fun to work with kids and watch them grow.”
In addition to work with the student athletes, Richard said he looked forward to working on campus and in the town as well.
“It’s a beautiful campus,” he said. “College towns are awesome. I want to be part of the Montevallo community. You have a president that’s active. There’s a lot of things going on. It’s exciting.”