By Kevin Schrock
The 2015-16 school year will mark the first time in 16 years that the University of Findlay will enter an athletic season without Steven Rackley at the helm as the athletic director.
On March 10, Rackley announced his resignation from his position to the UF community.
Rackley has been a lynchpin at the top of the athletic system; overseeing 24 different NCAA Division II athletic teams this past year. He will be headed to Alma College effective July 1 of this year.
Before coming to the University of Findlay, Rackley worked at Salt Lake Community College from 1987-88, and promptly went to Weber State where he held several different positions throughout his eight year span. He handled things like tickets, business operations, and internal operations for Weber State before leaving for Marshall University in 1996. From 1996-99 Rackley served as the Associate Athletic Director for Operations.
Rackley came to the University of Findlay amidst a major change in the athletic program. On September 1 of 2000, Rackley helped to successfully complete the Oilers transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division two.
In 2003, the University of Findlay men’s soccer team proved that the move was not too much for them to handle. They made a run all the way to the final four in the country for the first time in school history.
The Oiler basketball team quickly followed suit. Two years later, the squad made a trip to the NCAA elite eight under Rackley. However, this was just a prelude to what would come later for the Oilers. Four more years pass and in 2009 the basketball team would go the distance to win the entire tournament and give the Oilers, and Rackley, an NCAA division two championship.
Rackley helped host several national championships at the University of Findlay. In 2006, the Oilers hosted the wrestling national championship, and in 2009 the Oilers were able to host the women’s national golf championships, too.
Rackley has also helped improve facilities on campus. He updated the playing surface in Croy gymnasium and added new locker rooms to the building.
Rackley hopes to transition his successes to Alma College this year. Alma is a division three school in Michigan, and they compete in the oldest conference in America, the MIAA.
“At Alma, there are tremendous people and tremendous facilities in place to build a model division three athletics program,” says Rackley. “I’m looking forward to creating the best opportunities for our student athletes to succeed academically, athletically, and as people.”