A son comes home

Published 2:49 am Tuesday, July 21, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Another son has come home.

Former Marshall football standout Mike Hamrick has returned to join the “Sons of Marshall” as the Thundering Herd’s new athletic director.

Hamrick, a West Virginia native, joins Herd basketball coach and West Virginia native Donnie Jones and head football coach and former Marshall All-American Mark Snyder on the school’s athletic staff.

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After spending the past six years in a similar capacity at the University of Las Vegas-Nevada, the 51-year-old Hamrick was excited to be back in the Tri-State.

“It’s great to be back home,” said Hamrick. “I am thrilled to be rejoining the Marshall University family and plan to work hard to help advance the success of Thundering Herd athletics in all facets. I thank President Kopp for giving me this opportunity.

Marshall president Stephen J. Kopp introduced Hamrick during a Monday afternoon press conference.

“In Mike Hamrick, we identified an outstanding leader for our athletic program, an individual of uncompromising integrity, experience and accomplishment,” said Kopp.

“He brings to Marshall University a vision for athletics that we can all embrace and support. His proven experience and accomplishments unequivocally demonstrate his ability to translate vision into action that leads to success.”

Hamrick replaces Bob Marcum who retired after serving as the A.D. for the past seven years. Kopp said a group of 30 diverse individuals were considered for the position and 10 formal applications were invited and interviewed.

Hamrick was a starting linebacker for the 1978-79 Thundering Herd and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. He earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1981.

Besides his stint at UNLV, Hamrick has been the athletic director at Arkansas-Little Rock and fellow Conference USA member East Carolina. He also served as an assistant athletic director at Illinois State and Kansas.

Hamrick’s contract as UNLV was to expire next year. Hamrick’s move follows the retirement of UNLV Chancellor Jim Rogers and the July 11 vote by the Nevada Board of Regents to demote UNLV president David Ashley to the faculty.

Acting UNLV president Neal Smatresk said his school suffered a big loss.

“Our program thrived under Mike’s leadership and I’m really proud of our scholar athletes and their success,” said Smatresk. “Mike has had an impact on the success of our teams and he has a place in the heart of the community here in Las Vegas. We wish Mike and (wife) Soletta the very best at Marshall.”

Hamrick, a native of Clendenin, W.Va., and his wife, Soletta, have three children, twin sons Brett and Justin, 21, and a daughter, Mollie Ann, 18.