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EKU Director of Athletics Matt Roan accepts same role at James Madison University

When Matt Roan took over as the Director of Athletics at Eastern Kentucky University the landscape in college sports wasn’t quite what it is today. There was no NIL, there was no extra “Covid Year” for student athletes, and at the time conference partnerships arent nearly what they are today. All that has changed in the last four years.

He announced his departure today to accept the same role at James Madison Universit. Roan helped navigate the sports department at EKU through the Covid-19 pandemic that included making the decision to pearhead a nine game “Season of Opportunity” for football with two games that were broadcast nationally on ESPN and FS1 which ultimately led with the NCAA-approved inagural Oppurtunity Bowl which was hosted and won by EKU.

“Matt has made a transformative impact on the EKU athletics program, leading our teams through the challenges of COVID-19 and securing landmark sponsorship deals for Roy Kidd Stadium and Alumni Coliseum,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “Matt is a person of such immense character and has guided our athletic program to greater heights. His dedication, along with the unwavering support of one of EKU’s biggest fans, Mallory Roan, and their family, will be sorely missed on the sidelines. Although we will miss him at EKU, we are excited for Matt as he returns to his home state of Virginia.”

“I am so thankful that we were asked to return to EKU in 2020 and lead athletics, which proved to be the right place at the right time for my family and me in many ways,” said Roan on his time at EKU. “We have loved our opportunity here to try and make a positive difference on campus and in the community and I am hopeful that I have done just that. As excited as we are for what lies ahead, it is bittersweet because I will miss working together with so many great people who make up Colonel Nation and who have been incredibly supportive. With your unwavering participation, and under the leadership of President McFaddin, together with the board and so many other outstanding and talented people, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come for EKU. Mallory, our children, and I will always pull for the Colonels,” said Roan.

Roan helped engineer a very successful deal in the last 18 months as EKU announced two naming rights partnerships for the football field and basketball/volleyball arena. The 11-year agreements for CG Bank Field and Baptist Health Arena will provide the university with a combined $3.65 million.

Along with that, EKU entered a five-year partnership with Nike and BSN SPORTS to outfit all EKU student-athletes and coaches in Nike competitive gear.

Roan was also instrumental in bringing back the men’s and women’s tennis programs to EKU in 2022, as the Colonels competed in their first events since the spring of 2018.

The Virginia native successfully led EKU’s transition into the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2021 with the football program claiming the ASUN’s inaugural conference championship in 2022 and the team’s first NCAA Playoff appearance since 2014.

In total, the Colonels have achieved five conference titles, 19 All-Americans, 13 conference players of the year, seven coaches of the year, 11 academic All-Americans, and 167 all-conference selections in Roan’s time as Director of Athletics.

On the facilities front, Roan has led the construction of an all-new on-campus beach volleyball facility, the repurposing of the former student recreation center into the Erdmann Olympic Sports Training Center (XC/T&F and Soccer) and the Moberly Building into a football operations center, the installation of a new surface and lights at Tom Samuels Track, all-new turf and lights at Roy Kidd Stadium and new turf at the Presnell practice facility, entirely new turf at Earle Combs Stadium (Baseball), and new Daktronics video boards for EKU Baseball and Softball. The highlight, however, has been the announcement of at least a $31.35 million renovation to Baptist Health Arena at Alumni Coliseum which began in March of 2024 and will truly captivate fans and those who come support the teams who will play there.

Off the field, Roan has been committed to expanding the health and well-being resources available to EKU student-athletes. Not only did he help bolster the Bratzke Student-Athlete Academic Success Center, Sports Medicine and Sports Performance staffs, in early 2023 Roan hired the department’s first-ever Director of Student-Athlete Mental Health and Performance Services.

In the classroom, the Colonels have achieved excellence under Roan’s watch as well. The Fall 2023 semester saw EKU post its best cumulative grade point average ever for a Fall semester with a mark of 3.231. That accomplishment also marked the 24th consecutive semester that the Colonels combined for a GPA above 3.0.

Roan’s last day at EKU will be May 15, 2024 and alll terms of his contract will be fulfilled. EKU will begin a search immediately for the new athletic director. An interim AD will be named in the coming weeks. Today on WBONTV’s Live at Five Newscast Michael Watkins will talk to Matt about the many accomplishments he and the Sports Department had during his time here.

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