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Jim Phillips Named Vice President for Athletics and Recreation

Move recognizes University-wide responsibilities

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September 24, 2012 | by Alan K. Cubbage
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Jim Phillips

EVANSTON, Ill. --- James J. Phillips, Northwestern University’s director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation, has been named vice president for athletics and recreation, President Morton Schapiro announced today.

Phillips has been Northwestern’s athletic director since April 2008. His appointment as a vice president and an officer of the University recognizes the significant role that intercollegiate athletics and recreation play at Northwestern University, President Schapiro said.

“An increasing number of our students, faculty and staff participatp in recreational activities on our campuses, and intercollegiate athletics is important in our efforts to build community at Northwestern,” President Schapiro said. “Jim also has been a leader in the efforts to integrate our student-athletes with other students, thereby reducing the separation that unfortunately occurs at many other institutions.

“Jim’s position carries University-wide responsibilities, so it is appropriate that he now has a University title that recognizes this,” President Schapiro added.

Since Phillips became Northwestern’s athletic director, student-athletes have consistently been among the nation’s leaders in academic achievement. A school-record 206 Wildcats were named Academic All-Big Ten in 2011-12, marking the second straight year that Northwestern has received more than 200 such awards. In the NCAA’s most recent Academic Progress Rating (APR) data, Northwestern’s football program led both Division I FBS and SCS schools with a score of 997. Eight Northwestern programs earned perfect 1,000 scores in the multi-year rate while an additional eight teams had perfect 1,000 totals for the 2010-11 data cycle. Wildcat student-athletes earned a combined overall GPA of 3.19 for the 2011-12 academic year, the highest figure in school history.

Northwestern student-athletes continue to be among the nation’s leaders in community service under Phillips. During the 2011-12 academic year, all 486 Northwestern student-athletes participated in some form of community service, with the group totaling well over 5,000 combined hours for the fourth consecutive year. In June 2012 that initiative stretched to include department staff, when more than 100 participated in the inaugural staff community service day at five locations in Evanston.

In addition, the department launched the “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” branding campaign, signed a historic multi-year partnership with Under Armour and developed a Master Facilities Plan. Northwestern’s football team has gone to four straight bowl games and its men’s basketball team has advanced to the postseason each of the last three years. Recreation activity has soared under his guidance, with a 27 percent increase in intramural participation and a 30 percent gain in club sports. Phillips also has spearheaded a plan to renovate and expand recreation facilities on campus to benefit the entire Northwestern community.

“To be certain, I’m deeply honored and humbled to be named a vice president at Northwestern,” Phillips said. “This is a world-class university that excels in so many ways. My sincere gratitude goes out to President Schapiro and the Board of Trustees for the opportunity to continue to help lead this outstanding institution.”

Prior to being named athletic director at Northwestern, Phillips was athletic director at Northern Illinois University. He previously served as senior associate director of athletics for external affairs at the University of Notre Dame and assistant director of athletics for development at the University of Tennessee. He began his career as an athletic development officer and assistant basketball coach at Arizona State University. 

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