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Kevin Steele Named OUAZ Director of Athletics
– Ottawa University president, Kevin C. Eichner, is pleased to announce the hiring of Kevin Steele as the Director of Athletics for its new residential campus in Surprise, Arizona.
“We are thrilled that we have been successful in recruiting an athletic director of Kevin Steele’s stature for our new campus in Surprise to lead our Spirit athletic programs. This new campus will feature exceptional opportunities for our future students and fans. Kevin’s values, experience and sense of mission align perfectly with what we represent. He is a proven winner, leader and administrator, and his national prominence in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has contributed greatly to attracting an outstanding lineup of coaches and programs,” said Eichner.
“It is a great honor to be chosen to be an integral part of the leadership team for OUAZ in the position of Director of Athletics.” Steele continues, “I am sincerely indebted to President Eichner and Provost Dennis Tyner to be selected to work alongside them to help make Ottawa’s new residential campus in Arizona into not only a reality, but a testimony to the Christ-inspired history of Ottawa University. The “Spirit” is coming and I trust that our programs will play a significant role in the development of our incredible student-athletes.”
Kevin Steele comes to OUAZ after 22 years as Director of Athletics with the last 8.5 years at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS. During his tenure, MNU athletics experienced great success in overall program development. MNU Women’s Basketball won the NAIA Div. 1 Women’s Basketball National Championship in 2016, MNU Football won the conference title three times and advanced to the NAIA National Championship Series in 6 of 7 years, reaching the semi-finals in 2010 and the quarter-finals in 2009 and 2011. MNU Men’s Basketball reached the Final Four in the NAIA Div. I National Tournament three times and won both the HAAC regular season and conference tournament. The softball program won two conference titles and competed in the National Tournament 4 times, with the appearance in 2010 being the first in program history. MNU baseball experienced their most successful seasons in program history and won the West division of the HAAC in 2011 and the overall HAAC title in 2014 to advance to Nationals for the first time. The Men’s Soccer program finished NAIA National Runner-up in 2015, won their first HAAC Tournament title in 2016 and has competed in the NAIA National Tournament 4 straight years. The Volleyball program became a national power in the last few years, reaching a ranking as high as #5 while winning 4 HAAC tourney titles, 5 straight overall HAAC championships, and playing at Nationals 5 times.
Steele has twice been honored as National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Athletics Director of the Year (2002 and 2015) the only person to have ever done so. He was also honored as the Heart of America Athletics Director of the Year for 2015-16.
Steele has extensive involvement in the NAIA national landscape holding the position of Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, member of the National Administrative Council, member of the NAIA Growth and Advisory Panel, creator and member of the NAIA Athletics Directors Association Board of Governors, and is a Past President of the NAIA Athletics Directors Association after serving two terms as President.
Other highlights of the Steele era at MNU Athletics are the creation of the annual Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremonies, winning the HAAC Conference Commissioner’s Award twice, winning the HAAC Champions of Character Award for an individual and having the baseball program win the NAIA National Champions of Character Team award.
Prior to his time at MNU, Steele was the Director of Athletics at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. During his tenure at CBU he oversaw a program consisting of 22 teams. He started 6 new programs in his three years and all 6 were ranked in the top 10 in the NAIA within three years of inception. Steele’s programs won 7 National Championships and multiple Conference Championships. Prior to his time at CBU Steele was the Director of Athletics at Blinn College in Brenham, TX. While there Steele’s football program won the Golden Isles Bowl and he later hired Coach Brad Franchione who went on to win two national championships. Prior to Blinn, Steele spent 10 years at Redlands College where he doubled the size of the department, won a National Championship in men’s basketball, built two new facilities and was named the AD of the Year for the Central Region of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He also held the position of Region II Director for the NJCAA.
Steele began his administrative career at The University of Oklahoma in the athletics department and in the Center for Business and Economic Development. Prior to his administrative career Steele spent a number of years as a basketball coach at the high school and collegiate levels including time as an assistant coach at Grand Canyon University under Head Coach John Shumate and later as Head Coach along with his brother, Jerry, at ACB where his team won the NBCAA National Championship.
Steele has three children (Kyle, Spenser, and Sheridan), two daughters-in-law (Taryn and Kristen), one son-in-law (Chance Willard) and three grandchildren (Kambria, Berklee, and Kollisyn). Currently, Kyle is the head men’s volleyball coach at OUAZ and Spenser is the assistant soccer coach at MNU. He is married to Kristin Steele, Head Coach of OUAZ Women’s Volleyball.
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About Ottawa University
Founded in 1865, Ottawa University prepares professional and liberal arts graduates for lifetimes of personal significance, vocational fulfillment and service to God and humanity as a Christ-inspired community of grace and opening inquiry. Ottawa University is a comprehensive, not-for-profit educational institution serving more than 4,000 students through its residential campuses in Ottawa, Kan., and Surprise, Ariz. (opening Fall 2017), and adult campuses in Overland Park, Kan.; Phoenix, Queen Creek and Surprise, Ariz.; Brookfield, Wis.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; and online. For more information, visit www.ottawa.edu.