SEWARD, Neb. – As announced by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) on Wednesday (March 10), Concordia University, Nebraska’s Devin Smith has been named a recipient of the Athletics Director of the Year Award (ADOY). The award spans seven divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges). Winners will be recognized leading up to and in conjunction with the 2021 NACDA & Affiliates Virtual Convention, July 27-28.
The ADOY Award highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities. Smith was one of four athletic directors honored at the NAIA level by NACDA.
Smith, Director of Athletics at his alma mater since June of 2010, has led Concordia Athletics to new heights both within the Great Plains Athletic Conference and at the NAIA levels. At the heart of the success achieved by the Bulldogs are the pillars of Smith’s departmental mission: family, Christ-centered, excellence, teamwork and passion. The process of living out these core values has yielded impressive results over more than a decade of leadership in his current role managing one of the NAIA’s largest athletic departments.
Smith has twice been named the GPAC Athletic Director of the Year (2014-15 and 2019-20) and oversaw Concordia winning the GPAC All-Sports Trophy in 2015. During his tenure, Concordia has won a combined 38 GPAC titles between the sports of baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s basketball. Eight GPAC titles have been claimed over the past calendar year. The Bulldogs have also captured three NAIA national championships: men’s outdoor track and field (2015), women’s outdoor track and field (2016) and women’s basketball (2019). In the Learfield Directors’ Cup Standings, Concordia has risen as high as 16th in the final NAIA standings with a run of three-straight top 20 claims occurring from 2014 through 2017.
As someone with a passion for building the Bulldog brand, Smith has increased the department’s exposure with a radio contract that began in 2015 and through the addition of new varsity sport offerings while regularly serving on regional and national committees such as the GPAC Conduct and Ethics Committee, the NAIA National Administrative Council and as part of a working group with NAIA Return on Athletics (ROA). Devin and his wife Michelle have two children: Elijah and Addison.
All NACDA-member directors of athletics in the United States, Canada and Mexico who met the criteria were eligible for the award. Among the criteria were service as an AD for a minimum of five consecutive years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD’s institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, etc.), in which the institution could not have been on probation or cited for a lack of institutional control during the tenure of the current athletics director.