The University of Illinois Springfield has named Jim Sarra as its new director of athletics, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. He has spent the past 11 years at The University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) where he currently serves as deputy director of athletics for the NCAA Division I school.
“I’m delighted that Jim Sarra is joining the UIS Leadership team as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Chancellor Susan J. Koch. “Jim’s extensive experience with all facets of Athletics and his strong focus on academic success for student-athletes are among the many strengths recognized by the search committee in their recommendation. I have every confidence Jim will lead our young Division II athletics program to even a greater success.”
Sarra topped a pool of more than 50 national candidates that applied to lead the UIS Athletic Department. He looks forward to helping the program continue to grow.
“I am so pleased to accept the Director of Athletics position, join Chancellor Koch’s leadership team, and help grow and advance UIS Athletics,” said Sarra.
“This is an exciting leadership opportunity, and I look forward to getting to know the coaches and student-athletes, begin building relationships on and off campus, and settling into the community. Chancellor Koch has a dynamic vision for UIS Athletics, and I welcome the challenge to lead and advance the athletic department. I want to thank Chancellor Koch and the entire search committee for their support and I can’t wait to get started,” added Sarra.
At UTSA, Sarra was appointed deputy director of athletics in 2009. In that role, he was responsible for the day-to-day administration of the athletic department. He supervised the areas of academic services, compliance and strength and conditioning. He also served as the administrator for several sports.
Sarra served as UTSA senior associate director of athletics for external affairs from 2007-09, UTSA associate athletics director for administration from 2006-07 and UTSA assistant athletics director for compliance from 2005-06.
He previously was responsible for direct oversight of corporate sponsorship sales, marketing & promotions, media relations and ticket operations at UTSA. He also led UTSA fundraising efforts through the department's annual fund.
Sarra has served in many different administrative roles at NCAA Division I BCS, FBS and FCS institutions. He was selected to and is a graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and Females, and the NCAA Fellows Leadership Development Program.
A native of West Seneca, N.Y., Sarra earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in advanced teacher education from St. Bonaventure University in 1989 and 1990, respectively. He also earned a master’s degree in sports management from Western Illinois University in 1993.
Sarra will take over as UIS director of athletics on August 1. He replaces Kim Pate, who left the university in May to become the director of intercollegiate athletics at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina.
UIS has 15 athletic programs, including baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field and volleyball, and is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference in NCAA Division II.