July 6, 2009 — Vol. 25 No. 21
After a challenging year as interim athletics director, Jeff Tingey has been appointed as permanent athletics director at Idaho State University by Idaho State University President Dr. Arthur C. Vailas.
“A department is only as good as its leader, and it is clear that Jeff is a real leader,” Vailas said. “He took charge at a very difficult time, and I am impressed with how adroitly he has taken challenges head-on and changed the culture for the better. The budget is back in the black, staff and student morale is on the rise and the community is energized by him and his leadership.”
Internal and external review committees met to assess Tingey’s performance and offer candid reports to Pres. Vailas and his advisors. The external committee included prominent alumni, boosters and donors to ISU Athletics, as well as student and faculty members. The internal committee included head coaches, assistant coaches and Athletics administrative staff.
Some members commented that they had their doubts or even opposed Tingey’s initial interim appointment, but that his performance and that of the department under his direction have given them cause to be “impressed with him” and to “come 180 degrees.” Both groups supported Tingey’s permanent appointment and agreed a national search was not likely to produce a superior candidate.
Among the other comments committee members offered were that Tingey “understands what is needed,” “cares about student-athletes and their practice facilities,” “has a great work ethic, integrity and he is eager.”
Tingey took over day-to-day operational responsibilities in Athletics as acting athletic director in early March 2008 and, after an internal search, was named interim athletic director on June 27, 2008. Beginning July 1, he will be Idaho State University’s athletics director.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity to continue to serve Idaho State University and the campus community,” Tingey said. “Service to our student-athletes, alumni and friends is of primary importance. I look forward to connecting with people both internally and externally as we move forward with the goals and initiatives of our athletics program.”
Tingey’s management has transformed Athletics’ alarming budget performance, erasing an $800,000 deficit with a $1.6 million swing that placed $364,000 in a reserve account and trending toward an additional $121,000 by the end of the year. He raised $613,000 in corporate sponsorships, nearly $736,000 in gifts-in kind trades, and $1.2 million in game guarantees.
Tingey guided Athletics through a critical NCAA certification process, one approved for Division I institutions at the 1993 NCAA Convention as a key part of the NCAA’s reform agenda. Idaho State University was one of the first universities to start the third cycle of certification, beginning in September 2008.
“It is impressive how quickly Jeff (Tingey) has become an integral part of the leadership of our conference,” said Doug Fullerton, commissioner of the Big Sky Conference. “Idaho State University has a great representative in Jeff and I look forward to working with him.”
The Academic Progress Report (APR) numbers revealed four perfect scores, and several sports showing tremendous improvement. Four sports, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s golf, and volleyball, all earned perfect scores of 1000 for the past season. For men’s cross country, it was the third perfect score in five years, and this year’s score was an institutional best 150-point jump from the year before. Men’s basketball saw a huge jumped to a score of 956, up from 900 last year and 827 two years ago. The 956 was the highest score in the five years for men’s basketball.
Coaches and staff have found a more open channel of communication with Tingey, who instituted biweekly cabinet meetings with head coaches.
“This is a great day for ISU athletics. Naming Jeff the leader of our department is important for the direction we are headed,” said Allison Gibson, women’s soccer coach. “He has already proved that he is capable of running this department and I personally look forward to working together to return ISU to the level of success that it deserves.”
Tingey appointed three new head coaches in volleyball, women’s basketball and softball. Head volleyball coach Chad Teichert led the team to a 10-20 overall record and 5-11 Big Sky record, including a five-match home winning streak. Women’s basketball head coach Seton Sobolewski helped players reach the team’s 11th Big Sky Tournament appearance, going all the way to the semifinals. In softball, Andrea Wilson took the reins as interim head coach and the team won 20 games for only the third time in school history, and after the team won just 17 in the previous two seasons.
“Based on the time and energy Jeff has put in during the last 15 months, and the quality of the staff he has hired during that time, Jeff has shown he is willing to do what it takes to make good things happen,” said Joe O’Brien, men’s basketball coach. “He recognizes the needs in our athletic department and has taken big steps to help all of us grow our programs.”
Tingey has solidified leadership in the Bengal Foundation. Jay McMillin was promoted to assistant athletic director for development and major gifts, while Donna Hays was appointed executive director. Tingey recognized the department’s great need of a full-time development officer to increase philanthropic opportunities to improve facilities and generate critical resources for athletic scholarships. He organized the Capital Campaign Cabinet, co-chaired by Phil Meador and Dr. Mick Mickelson, who have worked along with notable supporters to develop and execute an actionable plan for identifying and cultivating likely donors.
“President Vailas has made a wise decision in appointing Jeff Tingey as athletic director,” Mickelson said. “Both of these gentlemen have a history of being successful college athletes, and both are deeply committed to ISU’s athletic program. Among Mr. Tingey’s attributes are hard work, high expectations and a practical understanding and empathy for his student athletes. I believe ISU athletics will continue to prosper and win under his leadership.”
Tingey’s experience and instinct in marketing have also made a difference in the last year. He promoted KaLee Kopp to director of marketing and promotions, who has created and implemented marketing and promotional plans for all sports.
Tingey helped secure the largest corporate sponsor gift in ISU Athletics history, the details of which will soon be announced to the public.
He also helped oversee the installation of a 44-foot video board and sign at the west entrance to Holt Arena, a bequest of ISU athletic legend Dubby Holt. The sign has boosted Athletics’ ability to promote upcoming events and generate sponsor revenue.
Tingey has demonstrated a commitment to building a positive relationship with the community, improving Athletics’ image and promoting student-athletes’ positive achievements.
“Through character, competency and consistency I hope to set the pace for ISU athletics for years to come,” Tingey said. “We’ll make every day count and continue to move forward.”
Tingey was ISU’s assistant athletic director for marketing and corporate sales before taking his current role. In 2006-07, Tingey spent a year at Brigham Young University, where he handled the marketing profile for football, coordinating game-day presentation, scripts, and pre- and post-game activities for the football team. He is a Weber State University graduate and ran track there for two years. While there, he worked as an intern in the marketing department before he was hired as assistant marketing director for four years.
Tingey lettered in track and football at Highland High School in Pocatello. He then went to Ricks College (now Brigham Young University-Idaho), where he played football and ran track before serving a two-year LDS mission to Fresno, Calif. He and his wife, Amber, have a 4-year old son, Ammon, and newborn twins, Burklee and Kellan.