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Randy Eaton, former senior associate director of athletics at the University of Maryland, was named the director of athletics at Western Carolina University by Chancellor David O. Belcher on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Eaton, brought more than 20 years of athletics administration experience to the post.
Eaton had been senior associate director of athletics at the University of Maryland and the athletics department's chief financial officer since June 2008. He joined the Terrapins' athletics program in 2003 as associate director in charge of business operations. At Maryland, he was the No. 2 administrator in the athletics department and oversaw a $60 million annual operating budget. He served as interim director in 2010, and recently assumed additional responsibility for new revenues, facilities and operations.
He also has held positions at the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, East Tennessee State University, Ohio State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio, and with the Ohio Glory of World League Football.
Eaton also has strong skills in fiscal management and developing athletics program budgets, which will serve WCU well during times of financial constraints, Belcher said. "His strengths will allow him to construct a strategically designed budget, manage our resources very carefully, and guide the development of new resources through fundraising, increased ticket sales and additional corporate sponsorships," he said. "He is extremely well-versed in NCAA compliance and issues of gender equity, and has substantial experience in strategic planning. Perhaps best of all, Randy is a great human being with a wonderful personality, and I believe he makes a great addition to our Catamount family."
Eaton's career includes nearly seven years as part of the athletics department administration at East Tennessee State University, a former member of the Southern Conference, the intercollegiate conference in which WCU competes.
"From my days at ETSU, my wife and I have fond memories of trips to Western Carolina for football and basketball games, and how friendly and warm the Catamount fan base was to the fans from ETSU. In addition to the affability of the fans, I was impressed that WCU was always a tough opponent, regardless of the sport," Eaton said. "What solidified my decision to join the Catamount program was the family atmosphere I found on the entire campus during the interview process. This athletics program and the entire university are poised to take off to, and reach, new heights, and I want to be a part of that journey."
Eaton said he possesses an overarching desire to "win every game, graduate every student-athlete, and do it all with class" that helps him maintain a focus on what is most important - the student-athletes. "Additionally, I believe my years of varied experience within intercollegiate athletics have prepared me for this opportunity and will serve both myself and the entire athletics program well," he said. "I would also like to think my straight-forwardness and outgoing nature will benefit me in leading this department. I told people during my interview `what you see is what you get,' and I meant it."
After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Eaton earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1990 and his master's degree in sports administration from Ohio State in 1992. He and his wife, Jeannette, are parents of one daughter, Alex, who is working as the Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Women's Administrator at University of Southern Indiana.