Kelly Mehrtens Named UNC Wilmington's Fifth Athletic Director
July 2, 2007
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WILMINGTON, N.C. – Kansas Athletics Senior Woman Adminsitrator Kelly Landry Mehrtens (pronounced MERT-enz), who has compiled an impressive administrative resume at four institutions after record-setting days as an All-American student-athlete, has been named Director of Athletics at UNC Wilmington, Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo announced Monday.
The appointment of Mehrtens, currently Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator at the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st2″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas, follows an extensive national search that attracted 300 applicants and lasted nearly 11 weeks. Mehrtens was introduced during a late-morning press conference in the Golden Hawk Room of the William P. Nixon, Jr., Annex. She begins her new post on Aug. 13.
“We’re very excited about Kelly’s selection and welcome her to the UNCW family,” said Chancellor DePaolo. “She brings a wonderful background in collegiate athletics to the position and, without question, will provide outstanding leadership for our growing program. At the same time, we’re very grateful to Larry Clark and the entire search committee for their hard work and appreciate all of the time and attention they have given to this very important process.”
A native of Panama City, Fla., Mehrtens has spent almost four years at Kansas, where she has served as a key member of KU’s senior administrative team. She oversees 15 men’s and women’s sports with operating budgets totaling more than $15 million, serving as a highly-efficient manager of high profile revenue and non-revenue sports programs.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to lead the UNCW athletic department,” said Mehrtens. “We have a terrific group of coaches, staff and student-athletes who are committed to athletic and academic excellence. I’m committed to those same goals, as well as the seven strategic goals for the university.”
In addition to handling numerous senior administrative duties in Lawrence, the 44-year-old Mehrtens has also established a successful track record in the fund-raising realm. She has played a key role on KU’s fundraising team that has racked up $19 million in facility improvements over the last three years. In addition, she has helped the Jayhawks increase their annual giving in athletics from $5 million in 2003 to $12 million last year.
Mehrtens has truly been an advocate of the student-athlete. She developed KU’s Student-Athlete Development/Leadership Program and worked with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to raise $1 million to help fund women’s sports facilities.
Prior to joining the staff at Kansas, Mehrtens worked in a similar capacity at the University of Illinois. She oversaw all operations for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s swimming and softball for the Illini. She also administered game contracts and scheduling for men’s basketball, coordinated post-season travel for men’s and women’s basketball and performed numerous other senior management-level duties, including the creation of a softball program and overseeing construction of a $1.7 million softball facility in Champaign.
From 1989-92, Mehrtens worked as Assistant Athletic Director for Business and Senior Women’s Administrator at the University of Miami. She managed the program’s $20 million budget and was responsible for financial planning and budgets for all of the Hurricane programs.
Prior to her stint in Coral Gables, Mehrtens served as Special Assistant to the Director at Northeastern’s UniversityCenter for the Study of Sport In Society and as Assistant Athletic Director for Business in NU’s women’s athletics department.
Mehrtens also spent two years as Executive Director of S.M.A.R.T. Sports, Inc., a community-based partnership program to provide mentoring for youth in Miami, Fla., between the Miami and Illinois appointments.
As a student-athlete, Mehrtens enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Alabama. She threw the discus on the women’s track team, collecting All-American honors in 1985 and making the World University Games and Pan American Teams in 1987. She finished fourth in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials.
“Kelly is an excellent choice as our new athletic director,” said Larry Clark, Dean of the Cameron School of Business and chair of the search. “She has learned from the best and has a contagious enthusiasm. She will be a powerful leader and a great team builder.
“We had an incredible field of candidates. All three finalists had strong support and were superb during their visits. We knew Chancellor DePaolo would have a difficult decision. Kelly is a fine choice and will be a tremendous leader for our program.”
Mehrtens earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commerce and Business Administration from Alabama in 1986 and completed her Master’s Degree in Education from Illinois in 2001.
Mehrtens has been very active on the Big 12 Conference and NCAA fronts. She serves on the prestigious NCAA Division I Management Council and on the Big 12 Strategic Plan Review Committee and Championships and Awards Committee. She was the Big 12 Administrator’s Council Co-Chair in 2006-07.
“Kelly is very special and will do an awesome job,” said Lew Perkins, KU’s athletic director. “I’m very happy for her, but personally, I’m devastated. She has been an important part of the Jayhawk family. I have been in this business for 39 years; she has taught me a lot. She’s as good as any that I have worked with.”
Mehrtens has been married to Nicholas Mehrtens III for three years and has two stepdaughters; Marina, 14, and Kayla, 8.
Mehrtens follows in the footsteps of <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas:contacts”?>WilliamJ.”Bill”Brooks, Paul Miller, Peg Bradley-Doppes and Mike Capaccio as the school’s athletic chief. Senior Associate Athletic Director Pat Howey has served in the role since Capaccio’s departure in mid-April.