Since arriving in Pullman in January 2018, Washington State Director of Athletics Patrick Chun has overseen a transformation of Cougar Athletics, on and off of the field. From record student-athlete academic achievement to record-setting fundraising, from transformative facility projects to innovative student-welfare programming, Chun has had an immediate impact on WSU.
Upon his hiring, Chun became the 14th individual to lead Cougar athletics in school history and the first Asian-American athletic director to lead a Power 5 school. He also had another first in 2019, being named Under Armor Athletic Director of the Year, the first Cougar athletic director to receive the honor.
Under his leadership, Cougar programs have reached NCAA Championships in six sports, while student-athletes have collected 28 All-America certificates, 79 All-Conference, 461 Academic All-Conference selections and four conference champions.
Chun has instituted programs to benefit student-athlete welfare, including improvements to mental health awareness, as well as a commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, while working closely with WSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Black Student-Athlete Association. WSU’s commitment to mental health awareness, under initiatives led by Chun, resulted in WSU Athletics being awarded the Washington State Psychological Association’s Public Citizen Award in 2018. Additional accomplishments for Chun include the development of UNLEASH, a strategic plan for the advancement of WSU Athletics, while in July of 2020, he began a four-year term on the prestigious NCAA Division I Council, a high-level group responsible for the day-to-day decision-making for Division I. Chun also serves on the NCAA Division 1 Strategic Vision and Planning Committee as well as the NCAA Division 1 Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. Also in 2020, he was named co-chair for the newly formed Pac-12 ImPACt Leadership Council which serves as an advisory group for Social Justice & Anti-Racism within the conference. In March of 2021, Chun was named a 3rd Vice President for NACDA, assuming the role following the NACDA Convention in July 2021.
Most importantly, the academic performance of WSU student-athletes has set or tied program highs for cumulative GPA in each of the last five semesters entering the Fall of 2020, including a department record 3.35 semester GPA in the Spring of 2020. WSU also posted its highest Graduation Success Rate ever in 2018-19.
On the field of play, the Cougars have seen program-best performances from multiple sports. Football enters the 2020 season having gone to five-consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history, while women’s soccer reached the College Cup in 2019 for the first time. Women’s volleyball enters 2020 with four-straight NCAA appearances while men’s basketball in 2019-20 had its most wins since 2011-12 and won its Pac-12 Tournament opening round for the first time since 2009.
Additionally, his leadership has led to as revitalization of Cougar fundraising, setting all-time highs in annual giving and total donations since his arrival. WSU Athletics raised a record $7.6 million in annual fund donations and a record $15 million in overall contributions in his first year. WSU improved on both totals in 2018-19 and in 2019-20, WSU Athletics raised a program-record $26 million in overall giving. Prior to the 2019-20 academic year, WSU completed fundraising for a $10 million renovation of its baseball stadium, the first athletics facility at WSU funded completely by private donations and set for completion in October 2020.
Prior to WSU, Chun spent the prior five and a half years leading Florida Atlantic University athletics and the previous 15 years at Ohio State University in a multitude of roles from 1997 through 2012, culminating as the executive associate athletics director.
During his time at Florida Atlantic University athletics, Chun guided the Owls to unprecedented successes across academics, athletics, student-athlete development and fundraising. His top priority upon arriving at FAU was academics, which saw tremendous growth. During his tenure, FAU student-athletes posted a combined GPA above 3.0 for a first in school history. School records were also posted for Graduate Success Rate (GSR) and Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2016-17.
FAU athletics rose to some of its greatest heights, winning multiple championships, individual and team, and numerous national and conference awards. Chun’s focus on the complete student-athlete is highlighted by the 2016 National Association of Academic Advisors (N4A) Model Practices Award, awarded to FAU for displaying best practices in their programming for student-athletes. In December 2015, the university announced the largest single gift in its history, $16 million from the Schmidt Family Foundation.
On a national level, Chun has served on National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) executive committee from 2016-20. Chun completed a three-year term on the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee from 2013-16 and served on the Division 1 Baseball Rules Committee from 2016-17. Chun had previously served on the executive committee for the National Association for Athletics Development Directors (NAADD) and was a longtime board member for the Columbus, Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
Prior to FAU, Chun spent 15 years at Ohio State University working at his alma mater. During his tenure, he was promoted six times in the Department of Athletics, ultimately elevating to Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Relations. In his last role at Ohio State, Chun provided leadership and oversight for all facets of the external relations division from 2009-12. In the four years of overseeing the external relations division, Chun oversaw record fundraising years of $42 million in 2012, $41 million in 2011, and $39 million in 2010. Chun also was a lead member of the athletics department senior team that authored the then-largest multimedia rights deal in intercollegiate athletics history: a 10-year, $128 million partnership with IMG College in 2009. Chun also served as the daily administrative liaison with the football program.
A native of Strongsville, Ohio, Chun earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Duquesne University. He and his wife, Natalie, also an OSU alumna, have three daughters (Vanna, Kennedy and Gretta) who enjoy their dog (Little Brother).
The Economics of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Moderator: China Jude, Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Denver Broncos