Midland University Names Dave Gillespie as Athletic Director
May 21, 2013 - Fremont, Neb. - Midland University has announced Dave Gillespie as its new director of athletics. A former University of Nebraska football coach and athletic administrator, and currently the award-winning activities director at Lincoln Southwest High School, Gillespie will head Nebraska’s largest collegiate athletic department at Midland.
“Dave Gillespie is the kind of man people don’t want to disappoint. There is a gravity about him, and we are delighted to have this able leader joining our team,” said Midland President Ben Sasse.
Gillespie comes to Midland with more than three decades of experience as an athletic administrator. He currently serves as the activities director at Lincoln Southwest High School where his influence has been transformational. While at Lincoln Southwest, a school with just one state championship appearance prior to his arrival, Silver Hawk athletic teams qualified for 15 Nebraska State Championships with six overall victories during his seven years. His program has won the Heartland Athletic Conference All Sports Trophy four consecutive years and received state-wide recognition last year as the Nebraska School Activities Association named Lincoln Southwest Nebraska’s Most Successful Activities Program.
In addition to his highly successful career directing high school athletics, Gillespie is best known for his role as Coach Tom Osborne’s recruiting coordinator and as the assistant athletic director for football at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. In 1993, he signed a recruiting class that formed the core of three Husker national championship teams, and was later named by Sports Illustrated as the second best class ever assembled. At Midland, Gillespie looks to carry these instincts into an expanding department.
“I’m excited to lead a department at Midland with such positive upward momentum,” said Gillespie. “The recent energy surrounding this university under President Sasse's leadership is electric. I’m eager to help grow championship traditions and to continue building character through all of the opportunities at Midland University.”
Gillespie steps into the athletic director role at a time of massive institutional growth for Midland University. The fastest growing college in Nebraska over the last three years, Midland’s student body has grown more than 86% since 2009. In a response largely attributed to the implementation of the “Four-Year Graduation Guarantee” and heavy investment in one-on-one advising, the university reached a record level of enrollment last fall.
Committed to developing the character of students and maximizing opportunities for participation and engagement, the university has added 11 varsity sports since 2009. With an athletic department of approximately 600 student-athletes, Midland sponsored 25 varsity and 12 JV programs in 2012-13.
“The demand for a meaningful college experience is evident in the growth we’ve experienced,” said Sasse. “Dave is a wonderful leader for an athletic department simultaneously committed to expanding opportunities and to higher levels of competition.”
In addition to growing numbers, Midland’s athletic squads have risen drastically in quality of play. Overall, nine Midland programs qualified for a national postseason event in 2012-13, resulting in a Dance National Championship, and appearances in the NAIA Men’s Basketball Elite Eight and the NAIA National Baseball Tournament.
Gillespie will work to build on this upward trajectory, tapping into more than 30 years of experience in athletic leadership. In addition to his roles at Lincoln Southwest and UNL, he has held coaching positions at the University of Kansas and North Iowa Area Community College. He holds a Master’s in Educational Administration from University of Nebraska – Lincoln and comes to Midland with his wife, Anne.