FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton Athletics Director Jim Donovan has signed a contract extension through 2023. It was announced on Tuesday.
Donovan manages a department with a $19.2 million budget, more than 65 full-time staff, more than 150 part-time staff and 350-plus student-athletes.
"To truly grasp the impact of Jim's leadership, first consider the historical context within which he arrived in 2012," said President Fram Virjee. "Student-athlete graduation rates were far below the university-wide average, fundraising progress was anemic, student attendance was down, and we were many years removed from a multi-championship year in the Big West. Today, student attendance is up over 1,200%, our all-team Academic Progress Rate is at all-time highs; and, after capturing a record six Big West Conference Championships in 17-18, the Commissioner's Cup is in our trophy case for the first time in history. These and so many other points of pride are evident of a culture change that transformed not only Titan Athletics, but also the spirit by which all Titans Reach Higher academically, socially, and professionally. I am proud to call Jim a Titan and look forward to many more years of Titan excellence — on the field, in the classroom, and around the community — under his tremendous leadership and vision."
Since taking over in 2012 as the 11th director of athletics at Cal State Fullerton, Donovan has overseen an NCAA Division I athletics program that has accomplished a lot over the past six years, including successes such as:
- Recording the best year in Titans Athletics history in 2017-18, winning conference titles in men's soccer, women's soccer, men's basketball, baseball, softball and men's track & field. Fullerton also finished second in women's tennis and earned top three finishes in both men's and women's cross country. The dance team also notched second place at the UDA/UCA Collegiate National Championship.
- Improved relationships across campus (Faculty Senate; ASI; Facilities Management; Parking; Contracts & Procurement; HRDI; Development)
- Facilities renovations and upgrades that include but are not limited to: volleyball gym creation, training room renovation and marketing area renovation
- CSUF Athletic Department budget increased from $8.5 mil to $19.2 mil over the last six years
- Full scholarships for all sports (from about 90 full scholarships to approximately 131 full scholarships & total student-athlete participation from about 300 to about 350)
- Out-of-State tuition budget for all sports
- All school deal with Nike
- Spent over $2+ million on major facility improvements including but not limited to:
- New weight room $450k
- Lights for grass fields $1.2 mil
- Scoreboard for stadium $560k
- Branding at facilities approximately $250k
- Track facility renovations $150k (& university paid $1.5k)
- Tennis courts $40k (& university paid $500k)
- Numerous new positions across most sport programs and additional staff positions
- Increased overall budgets for all sports programs
"I'd like to thank Fram and Julie (Virjee) and Vice President Berenecea Johnson Eanes for their steadfast support of Titan Athletics! We have had great success over these past six years, but there is more to accomplish! The overriding reason we have improved so much is our belief that Cal State Fullerton can win in every sport," Donovan said. "Our commitment to 100% effort, teamwork and customer service, which are the core of our Titan Top 10 "Musts," and our underlying belief is crucial. Why not us? I am very proud and honored to be a Titan!"
Under Donovan's leadership, the Titans have won 21 Big West Conference Championships and the Titan baseball team made the College World Series in two of the last four seasons after not making it to Omaha since 2009. The softball program has also soared to new heights, as its begun a dynasty of its own, claiming three consecutive Big West Conference titles. Women's soccer has advanced to the NCAAs in four of the past six seasons, men's soccer has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in three of the past five campaigns, while Titan Track & Field is officially on the map, claiming back-to-back Big West crowns.
Since Donovan stepped onto campus, Titan Athletics has raised more than $13 million dollars. More philanthropic dollars have been committed to Cal State Fullerton Athletics over the past six years than in the institutions first 55 years of existence. Ticket sales have also increased by nearly 46 percent since his arrival, as the Titans managed to sell a school-record $560,494 in tickets during the 2017-18 campaign.
Most impressively, the Titans have shed the "commuter school" label that many thought would be impossible. Since Donovan's arrival on campus, Titan Athletics has gone from barely being able to attract 1,000 students to athletics events over an academic year, to now seeing well over 16,000 passionate Cal State Fullerton students supporting Titan student-athletes in each of the last two seasons. The newly created "Stampede" student section has rapidly increased by over 1,200 percent over the last six seasons, making Titan facilities some of the rowdiest in the Big West Conference.
The 2017-18 academic year was one for the ages, as Titan Athletics made history under Donovan's fifth year of leadership. Fullerton claimed the department's first Big West Commissioner's Cup title in school history. The award is given out yearly to the conference's winningest athletics department, based on league titles and top finishes.
The culture at Fullerton has changed and grown to expect success in all facets with Donovan at the helm. As part of the aforementioned Titan Top 10 "Musts" that are hung in every office in the athletic department and locker room, there is no doubt what type of character Titans have. First on the list of 10 is that customer service is paramount and the customers include students, student-athletes, staff, ticket purchasers, sponsors and donors. We will out-work the competition, focus on the "cans" and not the "cant's" and do things the best way, not the way it's always been done.
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