HUNTINGTON — Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick is stepping down after 12 years of leading the Thundering Herd’s athletic department, he confirmed Friday afternoon.
Hamrick, whose contract expires June 30, said he will transition to a new role as special assistant to university President Jerome Gilbert.
“The last 12 years have been some of the best years of my life, and I want to thank everyone who has helped make that possible,” Hamrick said.
“It’s always such an honor to serve your university, especially as the director of athletics.”
Jeff O’Malley, who is Marshall’s associate athletic director and chief of staff, will be the interim athletic director, according to a news release from the university.
Gilbert, who announced he will leave the university once his contract expires July 15, 2022, commended Hamrick for his service to the university.
Gilbert’s statement did not exactly show support for Hamrick’s move out of the role of athletic director.
“Mike has done an excellent job as athletic director, and I am disappointed he is no longer able to serve in that capacity,” Gilbert said in the letter.
“In his role as special assistant to the president, I will be working with him and others to raise money and to plan for facilities and other improvements for the university.”
Hamrick thanked Gilbert for his support during his time as president at Marshall.
“The support I’ve received from Dr. Gilbert and so many others is much appreciated,” Hamrick said. “Dr. Gilbert has been a supporter from day one, and continues to be. Even though we’re both disappointed that I’m not moving forward as the AD, we’re both looking forward to this new role.”
Hamrick’s emphasis in his new fundraising within the President’s Office will be on getting Marshall University an on-campus baseball stadium.
It is a project Hamrick said has been a focus of his for several years while athletic director at Marshall.
Instead of reflecting on his time as athletic director, Hamrick’s focus was forward on his new role, which will be ensuring that the baseball stadium project comes to fruition.
“For years, Marshall has been promised a baseball stadium,” Hamrick said. “I personally promised many baseball players that we would build one. Given the opportunity to do this will finish everything that I set out to do with the vision I had for Marshall athletics when I got here — especially with facilities.”
Fundraising is an area where Hamrick has seen success over the years.
In 2011, Hamrick joined late Marshall President Stephen Kopp and former Herd greats Chad Pennington and Mike D’Antoni to spearhead the Vision Campaign, which helped build the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Complex, the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex, the MU Athletics Hall of Fame, a new weight-training facility, a new academic center for student-athletes and the Marshall University Sports Medicine Translational Research Center.
It was a large part of more than $50 million in facility improvements made to Marshall’s facilities during Hamrick’s tenure.
Less than three weeks ago, Marshall celebrated the men’s soccer program’s first national championship — the first major championship at the NCAA’s highest division.
Days later, Hamrick joined Gilbert, now-interim athletic director O’Malley and the Marshall Board of Governors in securing a five-year contract for national champion soccer head coach Chris Grassie, whom Hamrick hired in 2017 from the University of Charleston.
Patrick Farrell, chairman of Marshall’s Board of Governors, offered a statement in regard to Hamrick’s transition.
“The board thanks Mike Hamrick for his many years of service,” Farrell said in the release. “He is a true son of Marshall and always will be. We are pleased he will remain at the university in his new role and will help us get the baseball stadium built.”
O’Malley takes over for Hamrick with 19 years worth of experience as associate director and chief of staff for Marshall’s athletic department. O’Malley oversees Marshall’s men’s basketball, men’s soccer, men’s golf and baseball programs, while leading the academic and compliance offices as well.
Gilbert’s statement within the university release makes it sound as if O’Malley will serve in the interim until the end of Gilbert’s tenure as president.
“Jeff O’Malley is an outstanding athletic administrator and someone who is highly capable of directing our athletic department in an interim basis over the next year or more,” Gilbert said. “I look forward to working with him to continue the process of planning for a baseball stadium and other additions and improvements in athletics.
“When the next president starts a search for a permanent athletic director, I have indicated to Jeff that he will be allowed to apply if he is interested.”