Interim no more: Blake James is UM’s new athletic director
The University of Miami has hired Blake James as its new director of athletics, the university announced Friday, Feb. 8.
“Blake James has proven that he has the experience, skills, leadership and especially the love for the university that we need in athletics,” said UM President Donna E. Shalala.
James had been serving as interim athletic director since the unexpected resignation in October of Shawn Eichorst, who quit to become athletic director at the University of Nebraska.
“Having spent more than nine years at the University of Miami, I understand what an honor and tremendous responsibility it is to serve as director of athletics,” said James.
“My passion for this institution, the students, the staff, and our fans, is matched only by my commitment to excellence in everything that we do. I want to thank President Shalala and the board of trustees for their support, and I look forward to many great days ahead at ‘The U.’ ”
James had two earlier tenures at UM (in ticket sales and development) before returning for the third time in 2010. He also spent seven years at the University of Maine, the last five as director of athletics.
During James’ tenure at Maine, athletics experienced tremendous success, including three trips to the Frozen Four for the men’s ice hockey program and NCAA playoff berths for football, baseball (two), women’s basketball and softball.
Additionally, James implemented a comprehensive $17 million facility improvement plan, which included an indoor practice facility and numerous other facility upgrades and renovations. Academically, the program flourished, earning the conference academic cup twice and maintaining better than a 3.0 GPA.
Prior to joining the Maine program, James worked in athletics development at Providence College, where he established the “Friars Forever” campaign and the Friar Athletic Fund.
At UM he will preside over a Department of Intercollegiate Athletics with 400-plus student athletes competing in 17 different sports.
James holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Minnesota State University- Mankato and a master’s degree in sports management from St. Thomas University. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children, Haley and Ryan.