When University of South Florida Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard was named to his current position in May 2004, he brought with him an impressive administrative resume in athletics that was highly respected nationwide. It is no surprise to anyone across the country that Woolard has continued to build upon that resume and has positioned USF as one of the premier athletic departments in both the BIG EAST Conference and nationally.
In eight years at USF, Woolard has inspired and led a number of initiatives that have allowed the Bulls' program to make a successful transition into the BIG EAST. Although USF had already accepted a bid to join the BIG EAST when Woolard assumed command, his tireless work to set a strong foundation at the outset has not gone unnoticed.
The BIG EAST places the Bulls in an elite neighborhood of programs, but Woolard set a goal upon his hiring to make USF one of the best programs in the conference. To do that, he has stressed the importance of a strong partnership between staff, student-athletes and community.
Most recently, Woolard led a successful effort to earmark a new "Athletics District" on campus that has initiated efforts to build new facilities in a core area on campus. Construction began on the Athletics District during the spring of 2010, and was completed in the spring of 2012. The state of the art facilities were designed by Populous Sports (formerly HOK) and built by the local firm R.R. Simmons.
No other university in the nation has undertaken a project of such magnitude, with as many separate venues being constructed, in the last 25 years. The project included new football and basketball practice facilities; baseball, softball and soccer stadiums; a wellness & nutrition dining center and renovations to the USF Sun Dome, as well as current tennis and golf facilities.
Woolard helped solidify multi-million lead-gifts to construct USF's new football and basketball practice facilities. The Frank Morsani Football Practice Facility opened in February 2011 and includes two natural grass and one synthetic turf field. The Pam & Les Muma Basketball Center opened in September 2011. The cutting-edge, 51,000-square foot facility features two basketball practice courts, new athletic training facilities, locker rooms, offices, video and meeting rooms.
USF completed construction in February 2011 on new baseball and softball stadiums, linked by a shared plaza and ticketing area. Each stadium features new step-down team dugouts, covered batting cages, multiple hospitality pavilions and service amenities. Both have the capability to host the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals.
Men's and women's soccer also has a new home, Corbett Soccer Stadium, which features a "bowl" design to create an intimate college soccer atmosphere. The entire University community benefits from a state of the art Champions Choice Dining Center. It serves as a training table for all student-athletes and supports all concessional needs for the USF Sun Dome.
The Claw, USF's golf facility, experienced a complete transformation with new putting greens and short game facilities for the men's and women's golf teams, and a state-of-the-art golf facility, that includes three indoor hitting bays, technology for video swing analysis,
as well as new locker rooms and offices for players and staff. The tennis facilities underwent a facelift with court resurfacing, new fencing and landscaping.
Most recently, USF completed a $35.6 million major renovation project of the Sun Dome, which was completed in the spring of 2012. The renovation brought new life to the Sun Dome, and positioned the arena with other Tampa facilities, which now complement each other for the benefit of the Tampa residents and has, again, made the USF campus an event destination for the surrounding communities.
Woolard was also a major factor in helping to secure nearly $3 million in funds from Hillsborough County, which renovated USF's track and field facility in 2008. The renovations included the construction of a new eight-lane, 400-meter track that is built to IAAF specifications and utilizes a new Mondo SX surface, the same surface that was used in Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics. At the time, USF was just the fourth school nationwide to install the surface. The track also has new high jump, discus, hammer and shot put areas, along with runways and pits for the long and triple jump, javelin and pole vault.
While the physical infrastructure of USF Athletics is building new roots, the student-athletes at USF are more equipped than ever to succeed in the classroom.
USF has continued a unique educational partnership that Woolard initiated with Apple Inc. that allows every USF student-athlete to have access to a 13-inch Macbook Pro computer every semester. The laptops are loaned to student-athletes each semester and allow them to keep up with their classes, professors, tutors and classmates while on the road. USF also secured Mi-Fi cards that provide high-speed internet access to traveling teams, providing for "anytime, anywhere learning."
Woolard has become personally involved in building resources that will allow USF to maintain its early success in the NCAA's APR (Academic Progress Rate) rankings. Including the 2011 report, USF's annual APR has increased for the fifth year in a row. Of USF's 18 sports represented in the 2011 report, 15 have a positive multi-year APR trend and 16-of-18 programs have annual APR rates above 950, including eight with perfect rates of 1,000. The football multi-year score has improved for the fifth consecutive year and their 53-point increase over the last three years is the largest improvement of any BCS school.
Additionally, USF has produced several stand-out scholar athletes. Chaz Hine became USF's first-ever National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 2011. Prior to that, two men's soccer players won the BIG EAST Male Scholar Athlete of the Year in both 2008-09 and 2009-10. The award is the BIG EAST's highest academic honor, and is given annually to the top academic performer across all male sports in the conference.
Recently, Woolard has gone out and secured top-level head coaches in Skip Holtz (football), Chris Malloy (Men's Golf), Courtney Draper (Volleyball) and Matt Hill (Men's Tennis). In addition, Woolard was instrumental in signing both Holtz and head men's basketball coach Stan Heath to lengthy extensions. Holtz's new contract runs through the 2017 season, while Heath's contract will run through the 2017-18 season.
Expanded television and radio coverage for USF programs has also been a key initiative for Woolard. In 2005, he helped complete an agreement that allows for the most electronic media exposure in school history. In addition to USF's football and men's basketball programs upgrading to more powerful stations, every USF women's basketball and baseball game was being aired on the radio for the first time ever. Woolard also secured the program's first Spanish-language football broadcast. Woolard went one step further in 2012, securing an agreement with 98.7 the Fan, a CBS affiliate and Tampa Bay's first-ever FM sports station. The agreement makes 98.7 the Fan the flagship station for all football and men's basketball broadcasts, while all women's basketball and baseball games will be aired live on 98.7 the Fan's sister station, 1010 AM, which is also a CBS affiliate. USF's continuous presence on an FM station will allow the Bulls to reach the maximum amount of listeners, while the two entities will work hand-in-hand to promote USF Athletics.
In July 2010, Woolard executed a three-year sponsorship with Verizon Communications that will make the nationally recognized broadband company a premier corporate partner of the Bulls and afford Verizon exclusive sponsor status as a TV, Internet and telephone service provider. With the partnership, Verizon will feature its cutting edge fiber-optic FiOS technology in all USF athletic facilities and will enjoy extensive media positioning on the Bulls' radio network and official website. Additionally, Verizon is developing USF-based content on FiOS for Bulls fans to experience exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage in FiOS picture and sound.
Woolard was instrumental in a ground-breaking deal when he negotiated an agreement with Under Armour to become the official outfitter for USF Athletics. Partnering with one of the fastest-rising apparel companies was a natural fit for one of the fastest-rising athletic departments as both organizations continue to be on the cutting edge of their respective fields. In addition to sponsorship support, Under Armour provides apparel and equipment to put USF's student-athletes in the best position to succeed.
In 2007, the USF Department of Athletics entered into a 10-year multimedia contract with IMG College, formerly ISP Sports, the country's leader in the college sports marketing industry. The deal, worth a minimum of $22 million, strategically aligns both IMG College and ESPN Regional Television as USF's multimedia rights holders.
As someone who is extremely proud of his involvement and commitment to the local community, Woolard has been engaged in involving USF with the Tampa Bay community to host numerous NCAA and Conference Championships. USF served as the host for the second and third rounds of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the 2009 NCAA Volleyball Championships, first and second rounds of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and then the 2008 NCAA Women's Final Four, which were all held at the St. Pete Times Forum in downtown Tampa. This marked the first time in the 28-year history of the Women's Final Four that the host school, or city, also hosted the men's first and second rounds.
In the past year, USF hosted the BIG EAST Baseball, Men's and Women's Golf, Men's and Women's Tennis and Track and Field Championships. The Bulls are scheduled to host the 2013 BIG EAST Men's and Women's Golf, Softball and Women's Tennis Championships.
Prior to his tenure at USF, Woolard was the athletic director at Saint Louis for 10 years.
He guided the program through a historic period that included the school's inclusion as a founding member of Conference USA, and more recently, its acceptance of membership in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
While overseeing a department that was progressive in its competitive success, Woolard also proved to be a large asset in a community that, like Tampa Bay, presents the challenge of finding a niche with professional football, baseball and hockey in the market.
The Saint Louis men's basketball team consistently ranked among the top 30 in the nation in annual attendance during Woolard's decade at the helm. Three times, the program was among the nation's top 10, peaking with an average attendance of 17,708. The men's soccer program at Saint Louis was consistently in the nation's top 10 in attendance by averaging over 2,800 fans a game in a stadium that was constructed for the men's and women's teams under Woolard's watch.
Further enhancing the community partnership, Woolard remained committed to bringing all Billiken athletic events back on campus. In addition to constructing a new soccer stadium, Saint Louis added a new softball facility and nine new tennis courts on campus.
Woolard also oversaw the Saint Louis Athletics Department as it made considerable advances outside the athletic arena. Under his tutelage, and while the Billikens were in Conference USA, Saint Louis student-athletes recorded the highest grade point average in the league.
While maintaining an outstanding department at Saint Louis, Woolard became a prominent figure on national committees. Previously, he was a member of the NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force, which had been charged with recommending strategies to counteract sports wagering by student-athletes. He is a past chair of the Conference USA Directors of Athletics Committee and he also served as the league's representative on the NCAA Academic/Eligibility/Compliance (AEC) Cabinet, where he chaired the Amateurism and Agents Subcommittee. Woolard has also served as C-USA's alternate to the NCAA Management Council, the most powerful committee in the NCAA governance structure.
Prior to joining Saint Louis, Woolard worked for the nationally respected Jim Livengood at UNLV. Under Livengood, who is now the director of athletics at Arizona and a past chair of the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee, Woolard was the associate director for external operations from 1989-94 after one year (1988-89) as an assistant director of athletics.
Woolard and his wife, Cherrie, have two children, Chris and Amy, and one granddaughter, Gabriella.