Jeff Compher, associate vice president and director of athletics at Northern Illinois University with a record of winning championships and academic success, has been selected as the new athletics director at East Carolina University.
Compher was introduced Wednesday afternoon during a news conference at the Murphy Center on East Carolina’s campus.
“Jeff Compher is a proven leader in moving an entire athletic department forward,” said Chancellor Steve Ballard. “He has great values, great experience, and national recognition among his peers. We are delighted he is a Pirate.”
Compher has agreed to a five-year contract with ECU and will begin his duties May 1.
"I would like to thank the search committee, the members of the Board of Trustees, and especially Chancellor Ballard for this outstanding opportunity to lead the ECU Athletics Department,” Compher said.
“I believe ECU is poised for greatness and I am thrilled to be a part of the Pirate Nation. North Carolina has always been home for our family and the city of Greenville holds a special place in our hearts. We look forward to getting to know the student-athletes, coaches and staff as well as the many fans and supporters of ECU athletics.”
Robert Lucas, chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees and a member of the search committee, said Compher emerged quickly as a top choice.
"Jeff Compher brings to East Carolina a record of outstanding success at NIU, specifically winning championships," Lucas said. "That's evidenced, among other things, by the football program's appearance in the Orange Bowl in 2012. He also is a leader who brings very strong communication skills and, because he has spent so much time in North Carolina, has great contacts and knowledge of the state and the people."
Compher succeeds Terry Holland as the chief executive of ECU’s athletics division. Holland, former athletics director at the University of Virginia and nationally-respected in intercollegiate sports, has served as athletic director since 2004 and will remain as director emeritus until his contract ends.
A native of Baltimore, Md., Compher is an alumnus of James Madison University and began his career at N.C. State, where he held varied roles in athletics for 13 years. He has been at NIU since 2008, where he led a program with strong academic and athletic performance and oversaw successful private fundraising.
A 15-member search committee, chaired by Lucas, selected Compher after working with national consultant Chuck Neinas and Neinas Sports Services.
Compher will earn an annual salary of $415,000. His contract includes bonuses for athletic, academic and compliance performance by the program, for fund raising and for retention. The funding for his contract comes from non-state appropriated funds, including the East Carolina Educational Foundation, or Pirate Club.