Christian Spears will serve as acting director of Northern Illinois University Athletics beginning April 15, NIU President John G. Peters announced Thursday.
Spears joined the Athletics executive administrative team in April 2009, coming from Southern Illinois University and served as the deputy director of Athletics since August 2012. Spears will serve in place of Jeff Compher, who is moving on to East Carolina University.
Peters, who consulted with incoming NIU President Douglas D. Baker about the appointment of Spears, said this is an important time for Huskie Athletics.
“While ultimately the selection of a new director of athletics will be the prerogative of Dr. Baker, this selection best ensures continuity within the athletic department in the interim,” Peters said. “We believe that Christian can capitalize on the opportunity and interest in NIU created by the Orange Bowl berth to continue the growth of our athletics program, increase attendance and interest and promote Huskie athletics to our students, faculty, alumni and fans in our community and service region.‚
Spears said he looks forward to helping NIU Athletics capitalize on its recent successes, including its five Mid-American Conference championships over the past two years.
“We have great momentum going into the next academic year and I am honored to serve our coaches and student-athletes during this exciting time,” Spears said. “I also look forward to working with Dr. Doug Baker during this transition. He recognizes how special this university is and his student-centered approach is directly aligned with our mission within intercollegiate athletics of developing champions in the classroom, in competition and in life.”
As assistant athletic director at Southern Illinois University from 2003-09, Spears managed the Saluki Athletic Compliance Office and the athletic financial aid office. He was also the sport administrator for men’s and women’s track & field and cross country. Spears came to SIU in fall of 2003 from Harvard University, where he was assistant director for athletic compliance.