Document provides three-year outline for department.
Director of Athletics Whit Babcock and Executive Associate AD Robin Martin Discuss Bearcat Student Athlete Progress in and out of the Classroom
Whit Babcock was officially announced as the University of Cincinnati's 14th Director of Athletics on Oct. 22, 2011.
Babcock, a former college baseball player, joined the Bearcats following five years at the University of Missouri, where he served as the executive associate director of athletics.
The Bearcats' leader has initiated a new administrative structure within the department, proposed a comprehensive vision and capital campaign for athletic facility enhancement including an $86-million renovation and expansion to Nippert Stadium, set forth a scholarship enhancement plan for Olympic sports, crafted a three-year strategic plan for all facets of the program, hired head coaches in football, baseball, men's track and field, lacrosse, volleyball and women's soccer and implemented numerous external relations strategies to connect and engage with Bearcats' alumni, donors, fans, and students.
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.
The department operates under Babcock's ONE TEAM philosophy which is centered on the core values of Integrity, Respect, Determination and Excellence working together as 547 student-athletes, 150 staff, 19 sports and ONE TEAM.
Over the past year, Babcock has implemented numerous changes in the academic area aimed at enhancing the student-athlete experience, reinstated and enhanced scholarship funding to Olympic sports, added men's indoor track and field as the department's 19th sport and streamlined his executive team to ensure better lines of communications across the department and University community.
Nippert Stadium, the venerable home field for the UC football team, will undergo an $86-million renovation over the next 18 months. The renovation and expansion project, which focuses on the east and west sides of the stadium will add new premium seating options while enhancing the gameday experience for all fans. The project will utilize private donations and premium seating revenues and no University general funds will be allocated. The project is scheduled to be completed prior to the 2015 season, the 100th anniversary of the start of original construction on the stadium.
The 2012-13 season was another successful one for the Bearcats that saw the football team win its fourth conference championship in five seasons and the men's basketball squad earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. Former national coach of the year Tommy Tuberville was hired as the football head coach, David Tepe won the BIG EAST Men's Golf Individual Championship and the Bearcats had three track All-Americans, Mackenzie Fields (pole vault) indoors and Josh Dangel (pole vault) and Terrence Somerville (110 hurdles) outdoors.
The College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) named Babcock as the 2013 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award. The CSCAA Benjamin Franklin Award is presented to the individual or organization whose efforts best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal.
UC student-athletes participated in over 5,000 hours of community involvement in the Tri-State Area in 2012.
Babcock served as Co-Chair of the University of Cincinnati's 2013 United Way Campaign.
The Bearcats also opened the $15-million Sheakley Athletics Center, a complex that will play host to lacrosse games and serve as a practice facility for football and all UC sports in the wintertime.
Having transitioned from an academic calendar of quarters to semesters, the Bearcats had a departmental GPA of 3.028, marking its eighth consecutive grading period with a 3.0 GPA or higher and 14 of the last 15 quarters in which the department had a 3.0 GPA or higher. Overall 11 of 17 teams achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Nearly 60 percent of all UC student-athletes earned a 3.0 GPA or higher, earning recognition on the Bearcat Honor Roll. Thirty-three percent of all student-athletes achieved a 3.4 GPA or higher earning each of them recognition as Dean's List with 18 who achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The 2012-13 season marked 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.
"I'm thrilled to be here and to serve UC and the Bearcats Family in this capacity," Babcock said. "It's an honor to serve under President Ono and his dynamic leadership. I'm excited to be able to help build upon our positive momentum and continue to move UC forward."
Babcock's first year at UC was also 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.
Since becoming UC AD, Babcock has been active on the local and national speaking circuits. He has presented before the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) and the 1-A Athletic Directors Association annual institute.
He is a past president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD), serves on the NCAA men's basketball issues committee and in several leadership roles within the American Athletic Conference.
Prior to his time at Missouri, Babcock's 20-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.