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Rupert named to Top NCAA D3 position

WC"s Athletics Director Tabbed as Management Council Chair at This Week's NCAA Annual Meeting

January 17, 2013

Terry Rupert congratulates quarterback Brandon Arehart following the Quakers’ last-second defeat of Marietta at this year’s Homecoming game. (Wilmington photo/Randy Sarvis)

Terry Rupert congratulates quarterback Brandon Arehart following the Quakers’ last-second defeat of Marietta at this year’s Homecoming game. (Wilmington photo/Randy Sarvis)

Terry Rupert remembers his first NCAA Annual Meeting in 1997 as Wilmington College’s athletics director. He sat in a back corner of the vast convention hall with several other anonymous ADs from other independent schools.

Now he’s running the show as chair of the NCAA Division III’s Management Council, which represents the 485 D-3 colleges and universities.

“Back then, Wilmington didn’t have a conference so there was really no one to meet at the convention. We were a few years removed from the NAIA and not too many people knew about us,” he recalled.

“Now, I’m chairing the meeting. It’s a nice move from the back to the front of the room,” he said. “I give a lot of credit to our athletics program — I’ve been privileged to have been part of that ride for nearly 17 years.”

Indeed, Rupert, AD and vice president for athletic administration, sees his advanced status in the NCAA as reflecting the “evolution” of Wilmington College athletics.

The College joined the NCAA in 1990 after decades of affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) during which the College enjoyed years as a football and soccer power.

WC completed competition in 1995-96 after five years in the now-defunct Association of Mideast Colleges (AMC). It spent two years in the fledgling, Indiana-based Heartland Conference in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 before being invited to join the venerable Ohio Athletic Conference during the 2000-01 academic year.

Rupert’s athletics reign has witnessed the women’s basketball 2004 national championship, a number of individual national champions in wrestling and track and field, and OAC championships in men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, and men’s track and field, as well as the football team’s 9-1 season in 1999 and the 7-3 Quakers shocking the OAC in its inaugural campaign.

“I’m really proud of the growth we’ve experienced in multiple programs,” he said. “We’re not flush with money and facilities, but we’ve done a lot with what we have. We’ve found ways to advance our athletics program.

“It’s been more than about winning,” he added. “We’ve had two NCAA Women of the Year, Academic All-Americans, Post-Graduate NCAA Scholarships. All of that and the success of our teams and student-athletes in competition have been very rewarding to me professionally.

Rupert’s rise in the NCAA ranks includes work as a facilitator for the NCAA’s Careers in Sports Forum, member of the D-3 Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, representing the OAC for the Virtual Focus Group, facilitator for D-3’s Student-Athlete Regional Leadership Conference, administrator for the National Leadership Conference and, during 2012, vice chair of the Management Council.

Also, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics selected Rupert as one of the 2012 Under Armor AD of the Year award recipients.

“I have a staff at WC that are professional and have advanced me to become involved with the NCAA. I don’t have to micromanage them,” he added. “Also, (WC presidents) Dan DiBiasio and Jim Reynolds have been very supportive of me.”

While Rupert admits that, financially, “$1.50 and being Management Council chair will get you a cup of coffee,” the prestigious position, along with his past NCAA involvement, has paid dividends for the College’s athletics program.

Wilmington students have held leadership positions with the national Student Athletics Advisory Council, in addition to the opportunities for networking, viewing best practices and expanding his knowledge of NCAA Division III.

“A professional goal of mine was to be involved at the NCAA’s management level,” he said. “My involvement has made me a better AD. I get a chance to see how other programs operate. Professionally, I’ve been blessed.”

Rupert assumed the chairmanship during proceedings at the NCAA’s 2013 meeting in Dallas in January and his term runs through the 2014 meeting in San Diego, which he will oversee.

The Management Council deals with the day-to-day operations, budgets and championships of Division III. Broad committees that report to the Council are comprised of directors of athletics, presidents, faculty athletics representatives and senior women administrators. Also, the chair serves as the representative to the Division III Presidents Council.

“I’ll be in Indianapolis (NCAA headquarters) about once a month,” he said, noting his vice chair duties have made the city his second home for the last year. “It’s pretty bad when you go into a hotel in Indianapolis and the staff recognizes you.”