Athletic administrator Keith Hackett is leaving the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Alaska-Anchorage Vice Chancellor Bill Spindle on Wednesday announced the hiring of Hackett as the school’s new athletic director. Hackett had been with the Wolf Pack athletic department for the last nine years as the senior associate AD for internal affairs overseeing the football, track & field/cross country and baseball programs.
“We are very excited to bring Keith Hackett on board as our next AD,” said Spindle. “He’s passionate, knowledgeable, and he has a deep commitment to the success of student-athletes, both in the athletic and academic arenas. Through the search process, it was apparent that Keith has a breadth of experience in both higher education and intercollegiate athletics, plus an ability to communicate with the various constituencies – on campus and in the local community – that support Seawolf Athletics.”
Hackett said he is excited to get started at UAA.
“I am both honored and humbled to be the choice of the UAA Athletic Director Search Committee and look forward to meeting our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the entire Anchorage community,” he said. “Our highest priority will always be the safety, health and well-being of our student-athletes. We have excellent coaches and programs, and I look forward to assisting them in their quest for excellence in the classroom and on the field of play.”
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities with specific teams, Hackett was involved with donor relations and major gifts, budget, human and physical resource management, and alumni and community relations at Nevada. As a key member of the Wolf Pack’s senior leadership team, he was responsible for oversight of all athletics department capital projects, development of the department’s first athletic facilities master plan and event management for all home contests.
Prior to his time in Reno, Hackett served as Executive Vice President for Special Projects and was Director of the St. Gregory’s University College for Working Adults in Tulsa, Okla. He also served as Executive Vice President and Provost at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Okla., from 1997-2004, and as VP for Admissions and Enrollment Management/Dean of Admissions for Law, Graduate and Undergraduate Admissions at Oklahoma City University from 1992-97.
From 1989-92, Hackett was the associate AD at Northern Illinois University, where he worked with former Wolf Pack athletic director Cary Groth.
The native of Nanuet, N.Y., began his college coaching and teaching career at Baker University in Baldwin, Kan., where he was head baseball coach from 1978-83 and assistant football coach from 1977-83. From there, he went on to coach offensive line for the football program at Div. I Memphis from 1983-85.
At UAA, Hackett will take over a program featuring 13 NCAA sports, including Div. I men’s hockey and women’s gymnastics. The Seawolves, who compete primarily at the Div. II level, are riding a string of five straight years in the NACDA Director’s Cup top 50, including the past two seasons in the top 25. UAA’s skiing, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and men’s cross country teams have all produced top-four national finishes since 2008, and the men’s track and field/cross country program has produced five individual NCAA titles.
Hackett earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Tarkio (Mo.) College in 1976 and an M.S. in education from the University of Kansas in 1979.
“He’s really a quality person," former Wolf Pack football coach and athletic director Chris Ault said. "That’s the thing that I really enjoyed about Keith. The last five or six years he was really the day-to-day AD on our campus. I think (UAA has) hired somebody who is certainly well-trained, has been in the trenches, and is a very good people person. He was in charge of football at Nevada, but the most important thing is that he’s got a diverse skill set. He’s the guy that will take initiative, get answers and solve problems.”