Wichita State hires new athletic director Kevin Saal

Wichita State has a new director of Athletics.

Kevin Saal from Murray State University will take over for interim director Sarah Adams starting mid-July, WSU strategic communications announced Wednesday.

Saal served as Murray State University’s athletic director since 2019, while leading the university through two athletic conference realignment and transition processes. He also grew the department to new heights with increases in student-athlete APR, league championships and NCAA tournament appearances, according to a WSU press release.

Saal also served at the University of Kentucky for 12 years working under the leadership of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart.

This hiring follows the termination of Darron Boatright, who served as athletic director for roughly seven years. During his time at WSU, Boatright led WSU’s move from the Missouri Valley Conference to the American Athletic Conference, in 2017. In the past six years, Boatright claimed 25 conference championships with 19 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Complaints were raised about Boatright’s leadership following the controversy about former head coach Greg Marshall in 2020. In addition, fans had raised complaints about the delayed start of a NIL—name, image and likeness—collective, which many believe is crucial to sports recruitment at WSU.

As part of his separation agreement, Boatright will receive separation pay that adds up to $300,000.

The athletic director is responsible for managing, planning and directing the operations of the university’s intercollegiate athletic programs. Saal will report to University President Rick Muma.

Saal will also manage the oversight of sponsorships, fundraising, partnerships, marketing, public relations, strategic planning, compliance, academics, student-athlete development and performance, NIL, and hiring and mentoring coaches.

Muma led the search for WSU’s Director of Athletics, with the guidance from Parker Executive and Search Advisory Group: Angela Buckner, Lynn Nichols, Nate Robertson, John Rolfe, Clay Stoldt and Evan Wessel.

More details about the hiring will be announced tomorrow. The university will hold a press conference for the media on Friday afternoon.