Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571; Laura Reed at (207) 581-3646
ORONO — University of Maine athletic director Blake James has signed a two-year contract extension, which takes effect when his current contract ends on June 30 of next year.
James was named UMaine’s AD in May 2006, following a national search. He has been at UMaine since 2003, serving first as senior associate athletic director and then as interim athletic director for ten months beginning in July 2005. He has previous athletic administrative experience at the University of Miami, the University of Nebraska and Providence College.
“During his time at UMaine, Blake has demonstrated outstanding leadership, notable integrity and a true appreciation for the proper role of an athletic department in an academic institution,” says UMaine President Robert Kenneds. ”Blake has done a commendable job under difficult budget circumstances and I appreciate his commitment to UMaine, our athletic department and particularly our student-athletes.”
Kennedy noted improved academic performance by student-athletes under James’ leadership. Black Bear student-athletes now have an overall grade point average above 3.0 and UMaine won the 2007 America East Academic Cup Award, given annually to the institution with the highest overall grade point average among students participating in conference sports. In addition, UMaine student-athletes have earned conference student-athlete of the year honors six times during his tenure.
The athletic department has experienced significant growth during James’ tenure including the development of a statewide television and radio network, a department-wide equipment deal with Adidas and numerous facility enhancements including the Mahaney Dome, the addition of an Alfond Arena video scoreboard, a new field hockey complex and new surfaces on Morse Field and Mahaney Diamond.
The department has also expanded community outreach programming, including activities that bring student-athletes into local schools and foster volunteerism that benefits community service agencies.
“I appreciate President Kennedy’s support and look forward to continuing to work with our coaches, staff and student-athletes to achieve success athletically, academically and in the community,” James says. “This extension is a reflection of all the outstanding people that work within our department and university. I am honored to be able to continue to serve our great university and look forward to confronting the challenges ahead.”