ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks have named a new athletics director. Sterling Steward will be the school’s new director of intercollegiate athletics, starting Oct. 8.
Steward comes to Fairbanks after serving as the AD at Savannah State University for seven years. Savannah State is an NCAA Div. I program. In 2017, Steward and the school’s administration made the decision to transition the athletic department from Div. I to Div. II after the 2018-2019 season. It was a decision that had to be made for financial reasons, Steward told local media at the time.
A press release about the hiring from the Nanooks says Steward was instrumental in revenue generation at Savannah State, and the school’s athletic department was self-sufficient for the past seven years. He also increased the number of endowed scholarships by 25 percent and developed a program for student-athletes that generated support for summer school and fifth-year eligibility.
“I pledge to Nanook nation that I will bring all of the athletic experience and knowledge that I have gained over the past 20-plus years in hopes of continuing the development of student-athletes while simultaneously winning championships,” Steward wrote in the release. “I am excited to begin a new chapter in my life, as well as my career.”
Steward replaces Gary Gray, who resigned as the athletic director of the Nanooks in December.
The Nanooks field 10 varsity sports with men’s and women’s cross-country running and skiing, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s swimming, and coed rifle all competing at the Div. II level. Men’s ice hockey competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, along with the UAA Seawolves, at the Div. I level.