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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

UNCW names new athletics director

Michael Oblinger will take over as UNCW’s athletics director on April 1. (Courtesy UNCW).

WILMINGTON — UNCW has announced the hiring of a new athletics director to take over in April.

Michael Oblinger, deputy director of athletics-external relations at the University of Connecticut, will assume the position on April 1, taking over from the Jimmy Bass, who is retiring. The university’s seventh athletics director, Oblinger will report to UNCW Chancellor Aswani Volety.

“Michael Oblinger is a proven leader who is dedicated to supporting student-athletes in their journeys to pursue excellence in the classroom and in competition,” Volety said in a press release. “He understands the meaningful role that great athletics programs play in the life of a university. He looks forward to amplifying the winning environment already in place at UNCW, helping our Seahawks soar even higher in the years to come.” 

The chancellor also noted Oblinger has “big shoes to fill” as he follows in the footsteps of 13-year director Bass. Under his leadership, UNCW teams have won 30 CAA championships and often competed in NCAA postseason play. Oblinger will lead 19 intercollegiate teams and more than 350 student-athletes.

Oblinger has been deputy director UConn, a Big East Conference school, for six years serving as the athletics department’s chief revenue officer and sits on the athletic directors executive team. During the past three years, philanthropic giving to the department has totaled $71.4 million. Oblinger is also is the sport administrator for UConn’s nationally recognized men’s basketball and baseball programs.

Before UConn, Oblinger was director of major gifts and annual fund at Louisiana State University-Tiger Athletic Foundation. He previously held positions at Nevada, Memphis and Ohio State universities.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead UNCW Athletics during a pivotal time of growth and change across the collegiate sports landscape,” Oblinger said in a press release. “As a former college basketball player, I understand the unique responsibilities and challenges that student-athletes face while balancing academics and athletics. I am dedicated to teaming up with our coaches and staff, Chancellor Volety and UNCW supporters to enhance the Seahawk experience for our student-athletes, alumni, fans, the university and the community.” 

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