Christian Spears will serve as the interim athletics director for Northern Illinois University starting 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 after almost five years as NIU’s AD.
Peters consulted with incoming NIU President Douglas D. Baker on naming Spears the interim AD.
“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 in a news release. “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 capitalize on its recent successes.
“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 in a news release. “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.”
Spears spent seven years as an assistant AD at SIU from 2003 to’ 09. He previously was the assistant director for athletic compliance at Harvard University.