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He is returning to Division I after recently serving as the athletic director at Division III Case Western Reserve.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Dave Diles is leaving the nonscholarship world of NCAA Division III athletics to return to Division I — as the new athletic director of VMI.
VMI announced Diles’ hiring Wednesday. He will succeed Donny White, who is retiring in November after 15 years as the head of his alma mater’s athletic department.
Diles, 52, has been the athletic director at Division III member Case Western Reserve in Cleveland for eight years.
“It’s been such an emotional process to think about disconnecting from an institution I really care so deeply about,” he said in a phone interview from his Case Western Reserve office. “But I’m thrilled and honored to be joining VMI. It’s just a unique and inspiring institution of higher learning, and it matches so well with my previous experiences, my personal values, what I hope to achieve in the future.”
VMI will be Diles’ third stint as a Division I athletic director. He was the AD at St. Bonaventure from 1994 to 1999 before becoming the AD at Eastern Michigan for six years.
He said he left Eastern Michigan in 2005 to become a Division III athletic director for the “breadth of responsibilities” at Case Western Reserve, where he also has been serving as chairman of the physical education department.
“Having an opportunity to expand my professional responsibilities to include physical education, intramurals, club sports, recreational programming was very attractive,” he said.
Diles, who will have an annual salary of $150,000 at VMI, will start work in Lexington on Oct. 16. White is not scheduled to retire until November.
“If there’s a transitional period, that’s certainly welcome,” Diles said.
VMI, which is leaving the Big South next summer to rejoin the Southern Conference, has not had a winning football season since 1981.
“I’m not easily discouraged,” Diles said. “If I have an attribute that I think has served me well throughout my career, it’s resiliency and creativity.
“I need to learn a lot, but I do have nearly 20 years of work behind this desk [as an AD].”
Football coach Sparky Woods is in his sixth season at VMI. His record at the school is 13-43.
When Diles interviewed at VMI, he had breakfast with Woods. Diles said they had “a lot of common ground.”
“He is a thoroughly respected coach,” Diles said. “Everybody who’s there is on my team.”
Is he committed to Woods for next season?
“I’m committed to being fair with everybody and to make sure I am being thorough and thoughtful in assessing where programs are and working diligently with everybody to make sure that we have the highest levels of success possible,” Diles said.
Diles, an Ohio University graduate, is the son of the late ABC sportscaster Dave Diles.
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