Whit Babcock was officially announced as the University of Cincinnati's 14th Director of Athletics on Oct. 22, 2011, following five years at the University of Missouri, where he served as the executive associate director of athletics.
In his first year, the Bearcats' leader initiated a new administrative structure within the department, a comprehensive vision for athletic facility enhancement, a three-year strategic plan for all facets of the program, and numerous external relations strategies to connect and engage with Bearcats' alumni, donors, fans, and students.
"I'm thrilled to be here and to serve UC and the Bearcat Family in this capacity," Babcock said. "When I arrived last fall, the season was already halfway over and winter sports were just beginning practice. I'm looking forward to my first full athletic and academic year and helping to build upon our positive momentum."
Year one was certainly full of notable highlights, both on the field and in the classroom. The football team won the BIG EAST Conference title and defeated Vanderbilt University in the Liberty Bowl. The men's basketball team reached the title game of the BIG EAST Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. UC was one of just six schools in the nation to have both its football and men's basketball programs be nationally ranked at the end of the year. Women's basketball earned a berth in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and posted a first-round win. Volleyball won the BIG EAST Tournament Championship and participated in the NCAA Tournament. Women's track had its best-ever finishes in the BIG EAST Championship meet in both indoor and outdoor competition. Those competitive successes led to UC's highest finish in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, a system that ranks athletic departments across all sports nationally.
The academic accomplishments were just as glowing. UC student-athletes as a whole posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.079 during the spring quarter. Over 200 student-athletes eclipsed the academic standards to earn nomination for BIG EAST all-academic awards. Men's track and field/cross country student-athlete Eric Finan was selected as the BIG EAST's scholar-athlete of the year and J.K. Shaffer was the conference's scholar-athlete of the year for football. UC student-athletes also topped 5,000 volunteer and service hours in the community, lending support to three dozen local organizations. 2012-13 will mark the inaugural year of the newly implemented BEARCATstrong program which recognizes student-athletes who excel in academic performance, strength and conditioning, personal character and service to others.
His background in fundraising, marketing, promotions, ticket sales, licensing and multimedia partnerships were key attributes in support of his hiring. In his introductory press conference, Babcock cited three guiding principles for his vision for the athletic department's future: commitment to comprehensive excellence, centering the department's focus on the student-athlete experience, and engaging the community.
Since becoming UC AD, Babcock has been active on the local and national speaking circuits. He recently presented before the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the 1-A Athletic Directors Association annual institute. He is the immediate past president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD). Babcock also serves on the NCAA men's basketball issues committee and in several leadership roles within the BIG EAST.
Prior to his time at Missouri, Babcock's 19-year career path included stops at West Virginia University, Auburn University, and James Madison University.
A native of Harrisonburg, Va., Babcock lettered four seasons in baseball at James Madison University and served as team captain his senior year. He earned his bachelor's degree from JMU in 1992. In 1996, he received his master's in sports management from West Virginia University. He and his wife, Kelly, have three sons: Andrew, Brett and Eli.