December 8-9, 2021
Las Vegas, NV

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Joe Castiglione

Vice President, Intercollegiate Athletics Programs; and Athletic Director, University of Oklahoma

As you look across the landscape of intercollegiate athletics, you would be hard pressed to find an athletics administrator who has experienced the long-term success at a legendary program that Joe Castiglione has had at the University of Oklahoma.

He knew the success of the Sooners first hand because his time at another Big Eight/Big 12 program. That success might have kept others from stepping into the job. The efforts to find stability and direction at OU would have kept others away. Castiglione, in his standard style, welcomed both — the decades of excellence and the challenge to return to that success. After more than 20 years, few have experienced the success Castiglione and the Sooners have enjoyed together.

The OU Athletics Department he leads today hardly resembles the one that welcomed him in July of 1998. OU has won 19 national championships, half of the all-time university total. He has celebrated 92 conference titles in that same time period. It's more than success that sets his tenure apart — it is the consistency of that success that makes the department stand apart from others.

Castiglione inherited one of the most storied programs in college athletics but there had been some challenges to that reputation. He went to work by creating a positive culture that emphasized core values, a dynamic mission and a collaborative spirit. The goal has been to create the “destination of choice” and a world-class experience for student-athlete development.

The 2018-19 school year yielded another accomplished campaign in school history with one national championship, four conference titles, a Heisman Trophy winner, three NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship honorees, a Nissen Emery men's gymnastics award winner as well as the honorees for the 2019 NCAA Inspiration Award, two Wilma Rudolph Awards from the N4A and a CoSIDA Academic All-American, keeping alive an 18-year streak. The year also saw all-time program best numbers for the IA FAR Academic Excellence Award and Dr. Gerald Lage Award, the Big 12's highest academic honor.

Women's gymnastics won its fourth national title and the Sooner softball team joined the OU men gymnastics squad as a national runner-up. The football team finished fourth while the men's golf team added a fifth-place finish. The title won by the women's gymnastics team extended OU's streak of at least one national title to seven years.

The Learfield Director's Cup recognizes overall program excellence. Evidence of OU's commitment to program excellence since Castiglione's arrival is that in 17 of his 21 years, the Sooners have ranked in the top 25. A total of 14 of the 21 sport teams in 2018-19 sent the full team or individuals to an NCAA postseason event.

GPA numbers and graduation rates continue to set program records. The 2019 spring semester marked the 15th consecutive that the student-athletes as a group recorded a 3.00 or better GPA, and graduation rates continue to be among the country's best.

The 11th and second longest serving director of athletics at OU joined the staff in July 1998. Castiglione created a team of administrators, coaches and support staff who pursue and achieve lofty goals under the banner of ethical integrity. The student-athlete is the daily priority for department staff and that focus is reflected in the program's success.

A place where competitive dreams come true and overall excellence is the expectation, not the exception, is part of a values-focused culture led by Castiglione with the full support of OU's Board of Regents and University administration.

OU Athletics, one of the few remaining self-sustaining departments nationally, has closed the books in the black in each of the last 20 years. Castiglione's responsible approach has benefitted the general campus. Through direct and indirect support, the athletics department provides more than $9 million annually to OU's academics budget. It also established an endowment at Bizzell Library and partnered with the president's office to eliminate the admission fee at OU's internationally known Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

Facility improvement and construction of athletics facilities have been carried out at a record pace and Castiglione takes pride in the fact that those improvements have been funded with private donations. Castiglione was instrumental in the athletics department's major campaign, Great Expectations: The Campaign for Sooner Sports, that impacted each of OU's 21 sports and became a national model for intercollegiate athletics.

Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium underwent a $160 million renovation that included filling in the bowl and creating new seating options for Sooner fans and new team facilities. Other improvements completed and/or planned included the opening of the Griffin Family Performance Center for men's and women's basketball at Lloyd Noble; a $25 million plan to build a new softball stadium; $15 million in renovations at baseball; and new team facilities for gymnastics and tennis. The $75 million Headington Hall provides housing for the general student population as well as student-athletes. The state-of-the-art building opened in August 2013 and won the President's Trophy as the outstanding housing unit four times. It makes OU the leader in providing an engaging community living option for OU students.

Castiglione was named Co-National Athletic Director of the Year in May 2018 by Sports Business Journal. He had won the award in 2009 and been a finalist in 2016. A survey conducted by Sports Illustrated in the summer of 2017 named him the best athletics director in the country. Other awards he has received include the 2018 Katha Quinn Award (U.S. Basketball Writers of America); 2018 induction into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame; the 2013 John L. Toner Award (National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame); Carl Maddox Sports Management Award (United States Sports Academy); Athletics Director of the Year (Bobby Dodd Foundation); National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators Hall of Fame; and the General Robert R. Neyland Athletic Director Award (All-American Football Foundation).

He completed a master's of education degree in May 2007 and subsequently became an adjunct professor in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, teaching graduate classes in marketing, development and leadership in higher education. He serves on the College's Board of Advocates and received the “Award of Distinction” given by the college in 2019. He was recognized for his distinguished service by OU's College of Arts and Sciences and was named a Price College Distinguished Partner in 2018.

Hired on April 30, 1998, Castiglione joined the Sooner family after serving as athletics director at Missouri for more than five years. His career began as the sports promotions director at Rice. Other stops included director of athletics fund-raising at Georgetown, then director of communications and marketing at Missouri. He marked his 25th year of serving student-athletes as an athletics director with the 2018-19 academic year.

A 1979 Maryland graduate, Castiglione received the University's Distinguished Alumnus Award in April 2007 and he was inducted into the State of Missouri's Sports Hall of Fame in November 2015.

He was named to the College Football Playoff Committee in January 2018, making him the only person to serve on that committee as well as the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball and Baseball committees. He has served on multiple NCAA committees and commissions including the NCAA's Board of Governor's Commission to Combat Sexual Violence on Campus, NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet, the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Discussion Group and the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Career and Education Strategic Working Group. He also serves on the Gatorade Collegiate Advisory Board and the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

He is a past president of both the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and NACDA. He also served three terms as the chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors. A former member of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation Board of Trustees, he is a highly requested speaker at annual conventions and continuing education institutes. In November 2011, his hometown recognized him by selecting him for the Broward County (Fla.) Sports Hall of Fame.

Locally, he has served the United Way of Norman, among others. His third term as OU's campus co-chair resulted in the highest recorded contributions ever by faculty, staff and students to the United Way of Norman's annual campaign. He encourages studentathletes and athletics staff to participate in those efforts as well, and in 2018-19, OU Athletics representatives logged more than 5,000 hours of community service.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Castiglione is married to the former Kristen Bartel, a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri. They are the parents of two sons, Joseph Jr., and Jonathan.

Wednesday, December 08

Transforming College Athletics: AD’s Discuss the Challenges and Opportunities Facing their Programs

Moderator: John Ourand, Staff Writer, Sports Business Journal

Joe Castiglione, Vice President, Intercollegiate Athletics Programs; and Athletic Director, University of Oklahoma
Desiree Reed-Francois, Athletic Director, University of Missouri
Dr. Derrick Gragg, Athletic Director, Northwestern University
Martin Jarmond, Athletic Director, University of California, Los Angeles