For the third time in his career, Dr. Greg Feris of Wayland Baptist University has been named Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year.
Feris, who has served as athletics director at WBU for the last 23 years, received the for 2012-13 award during the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics' (NACDA) 48th annual convention held recently at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla. Feris was chosen to represent the 28 national winners (four from each of seven divisions) by presenting an acceptance speech at an awards luncheon, and he called the day "a celebration for those of us fortunate enough to be recognized by our peers, by NACDA and by Under Armour.
"(Represented are) 28 individuals from schools which are vastly different in our approach to intercollegiate sport, but very much the same in our desire to have programs that are competitive, respected and administered with integrity," Feris said. "Although our university and college populations vary from a high of more than 26,000 students to some with less than 1,000, we are all passionate about what we do."
Feris, who was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the Wayland Baptist Athletics Hall of Honor in 2009, went on to thank the recipients' campus athletic staffs and school administrative officials as well as the honorees' families and peers.
"This recognition is a shared honor with our entire athletic staff and student athletes," he said. "My name may be on the award, but it represents the day-to-day effort and success of everyone associated with the Wayland community.
"To be recognized in this way by our colleagues is a very special honor," he added. "Thank you for believing in us and what we do."
Feris has been the director of athletics and a professor of exercise and sport science at Wayland since 1990, presently directing 13 head coaches, 27 assistant coaches and eight full-time athletics staff. He also has had supervision and oversight of significant budget increases with the development of additional programs, personnel and facilities, adding 13 sports (football, baseball, volleyball, men's and women's wrestling, swimming and diving, golf, soccer, and cheer and dance) and increasing the number of student-athletes by approximately 500 percent.
Academically during Feris' tenure, Wayland has produced 80 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, three NACDA postgraduate scholarship recipients and three NAIA Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character recipients.
Feris has been instrumental in helping advance the Sooner Athletic Conference in the NAIA, currently serving on the SAC Executive Committee and on the SAC Membership Committee. He is former secretary of NACDA and member of the executive committee and currently serves on the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Committee.
Feris joins five others who have won the Athletics Director of the Year award three times: Jerry Hughes, Central Missouri; Don Tencher, Rhode Island College; Steve Ridder, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Fla.; Ron Case, Gloucester County College, N.J.; and Bob Bottger, St. Louis Community College Meramec.
NACDA Executive Director Bob Vecchione explained the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year award is essential because it highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels of collegiate athletics (NCAA FBS, FCS; Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges) for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
"Since 1998, NACDA has been highlighting significant contributions made by athletics directors across all divisions of our membership," Vecchione said. "This award allows athletics directors to be recognized not only nationally, but also in their respective communities which heightens the awareness of their leadership position in the athletics enterprise."
A special feature on Feris and other award recipients appeared in the June 10 issue of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal .
Feris and his wife, Glenda, have two children, Chris and Chad, and four grandchildren.