UIW elevates interim Richard Duran to permanent role as Athletic Director

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San Antonio – University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) President Dr. Thomas M. Evans, announced today that interim Athletic Director Richard Duran has been elevated to the permanent role of athletic director.

In his new role, Duran becomes the youngest sitting Division I athletic director. Duran, who came to UIW as the deputy athletics director responsible for all external functions of the department in October 2017, took over the interim position on Aug. 12, 2019.

“As interim athletic director, Richard demonstrated his willingness to work with all campus partners not only for the benefit of the athletics department but for the University as a whole,” said Evans. “He showed us his ability to lead, his dedication to his staff, to our student athletes and to our UIW Mission. In these last 10 months, Richard Duran truly earned the privilege of being named UIW’s Athletic Director.”

Under Duran’s leadership, UIW Athletics had tremendous success in the classroom, in the community, in competition, in revenue generation and in fan engagement. He guided a team of 80 full-time employees, five part-time employees, 35 graduate assistants and 18 work study students in creating a holistic and positive experience for more than 500 student-athletes.

“I would like to thank Dr. Evans, Michael Larkin, Chief Development Officer and Vice-President for External Affairs, and the University leadership for the incredible opportunity to lead the UIW Athletics Department into the future,” said Duran. “Throughout my time at UIW I have come to realize that this University is not only where I want to be, it is where I am supposed to be. It isn’t every day that you are able to work at an institution whose values so closely align with your own.

“I am excited to come to work every day and help our student-athletes become champions in the classroom, in the community and in competition. I am humbled for this opportunity and thankful for the commitment of our student-athletes, department, campus community and supporters. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. UIW is an amazing community made up of incredible people, and I look forward to continuing to work as a team to provide the best student-athlete experience possible.”

The UIW Athletics department, in alignment with the University’s core values, has placed a heavy emphasis on service and giving back to the community. Over the 2019-20 academic year, the Cardinals completed a department record 6,051.5 hours of community service across 70 organizations in San Antonio. Classes were moved online following spring break, but the Cardinals were still able to complete 347.5 hours of community service in the fourth quarter of the year.

Academically, in the fall, UIW student-athletes posted a cumulative GPA of 3.24 and a semester GPA of 3.26. In the Spring, despite the sudden transition to online classes following spring break, UIW student-athletes achieved a department cumulative GPA of 3.33 and a department semester GPA of 3.56.

In November, the department announced that for the 2018-19 academic year, 20 Cardinal sports earned a combined single-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 991, a program-high mark since becoming Division I. Men’s basketball’s academics improved dramatically from 2017-18 to 2018-19, going from an 839 APR from the 2017-18 academic year to a perfect 1,000 in 2018-19. Additionally, in May 2020, men’s tennis and women’s cross country earned the Public Recognition Award for their perfect multiyear APR scores during the 2018-19 academic year.

Two women’s teams enjoyed their best year of Southland Conference competition during the 2019-20 season. Women’s soccer notched more wins in Fall 2019 alone than in the past three seasons combined (2016-18). With a 7-4 mark in Southland Conference play, the Cardinals qualified for the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time in program history.

Women’s basketball, led by first-year head coach Jeff Dow, had nine more wins in 2019-20 than the Cardinals had in 2018-19 and earned the first berth to the Southland Conference Tournament in program history.

The men’s basketball team improved from one Southland Conference win in 2018-19 to six in 2019-20 under second-year coach Dr. Carson Cunningham. UIW also had its first Southland Conference Freshman of the Year in Keaston Willis. The men’s swimming and diving team won the 2020 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Conference Championship, marking its third consecutive title.

Under Duran, the Cardinals Club annual fund program saw record numbers in both memberships and revenue. Since 2016-17 (the year prior to Duran’s arrival at UIW), Cardinals Club membership is up by 626.1 percent and Cardinals Club revenue is up by 1,033.8 percent. The department also set a record for athletics giving as part of the campus-wide Day of Giving campaign in February 2020.

Likewise, athletic sponsorships reached new heights in 2019-20. UIW Athletics had a record number of athletic sponsors and boasted record revenues. Since 2017-18, the department has increased its number of sponsors by 540 percent, while revenues have risen by 256.7 percent. Athletic department ticketing numbers have also seen a significant rise under Duran. Despite 37 events being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UIW Athletics set numerous ticketing records in 2019-20, including a new overall ticket revenue mark. Since 2017-18, ticket sale revenue has increased by 61.8 percent.

In addition, UIW Athletics has placed an emphasis on enhancing the fan experience. The marketing department more than doubled the number of giveaways, in-game contests and on-field recognitions during the 2019-20 season. During the 2018 football season, the department launched the UIW Fan Zone. The 2019 homecoming game saw an all-time high 34 elements in the Fan Zone, a 112.5 percent increase from year one.

The department has also taken strides to increase student attendance at games, releasing the Red’s Rewards app in January 2019. The app, which is available to all UIW students and has rewards available for points earned by checking in at athletic events, experienced a 170.1 percent increase in users from the end of year one to the end of year two.

Since Duran’s arrival in 2017-18, UIW Athletics has increased its social media presence, leading to larger numbers of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The main accounts on Twitter (88.9 percent), Facebook (116.4 percent) and Instagram (145.4 percent) have seen major increases. During the 2019-20 season alone, indisvidual sports accounts rose by 41.4 percent on Twitter and by 67.6 percent on Instagram.

Under Duran’s guidance in August 2019, the athletics department collaborated with UTSA to co-host the River Rally Parade, bringing the City of San Antonio together prior to the first football game between the two schools in program history. Athletics also partnered with the University Office of Communications and Brand Marketing and the Division of Development and University Relations to successfully host the Cardinal Takeover Pre-Game Party on Aug. 31 around the game.

In 2019-20, video production saw a 144.7 percent increase in the number of events streamed since 2016-17. Over the past 10 months, 93 events were streamed. This was one fewer event than in 2018-19, despite 37 events being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duran arrived at UIW after a year and a half as the Director of Development at California State University, Los Angeles. Prior to working with the Golden Eagles, he spent three years at the University of Louisiana, Monroe (ULM) where he started as the Director of Marketing & Event Management before being promoted to the Assistant Athletics Director of External Relations.

Duran went to ULM after a stint as the Assistant Director of Athletics Development at the University of California, Riverside. He began his career in intercollegiate athletics with the Big West Conference as a Championships/Marketing Assistant.

Duran was a four-year letter winner in football at Whittier College in Whittier, California. He graduated with distinction, earning a Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport management in 2011. In 2013, Duran received a Master of Arts in sport management from the University of San Francisco. He is currently pursuing his doctorate and working on his dissertation at Louisiana Tech University.

The Montebello, California native is a 2007 alumnus of Schurr High School.

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