College of Toledo Director of Athletics O’Brien to retire 2022


The university extended O’Brien’s contract to April 30, 2022, although it was originally supposed to expire in July.

TOLEDO, Ohio – Vice President and Director of Athletics at the University of Toledo Mike O’Brien announced on Thursday its plans to retire on April 30, 2022.

The university extended O’Brien’s contract to this date, which was originally due to expire in July.

O’Brien enters his 20th year as UToledo Athletics Director. In January 2002, he was named leader of the Rockets after holding positions in Kansas State, Lamar, Pittsburgh, and Ball State.

The university is expected to conduct a national search for the next track and field director.

O’Brien issued the following statement:

“I have been honored to have served as vice president and director of sport at the University of Toledo for the past two decades. My tenure on the NCAA men’s basketball committee ends after the 2022 Final Four, so the time is right to step down and.” I know the hardest part will be leaving behind the student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni and rocket fans who make this place special. We were able to develop the right culture for success in science and athletics I think Rocket Athletics is in a very good place.

I want to thank my wife, Michelle, and my son, Jack, for their love and support and for the sacrifices they have made during my administrative career. I would also like to thank UToledo Interim President Dr. Postel, as well as all current and former employees and trainers for their careful work and their contributions to the program. My family and I have made many close friends in Toledo and we really couldn’t have asked for a better place to call home. I look forward to leading the missiles over the next 15 months and supporting the smooth transition to new leadership. “

Interim President Gregory Postel gave the following answer:

“I would like to thank Mike for his years of service to UToledo. He has contributed to the Rocket community in countless ways over the years. This year, his ability to safely navigate the department during the pandemic is an indication of his administrative skills . “

O’Brien, who was named Athletic Director of the Year for the Football Bowl Subdivision Northeast Region in 2012, has made the UToledo Athletics program one of the best at the Mid-American Conference.

His tenure has seen unparalleled athletic and academic achievements by rocket student-athletes, as well as numerous ambitious capital projects that have elevated Toledo’s status as one of the best midsize sports programs in the country. His contributions to the university went beyond athletics when he was selected as co-director of the Ready to Launch capital campaign in 2019.

Under O’Brien’s watch, the Rockets have won or shared 36 championship titles in nine different sports. In addition, the Rockets made 11 bowl appearances in football, four NIT appearances in men’s basketball, one NCAA tournament appearance in women’s basketball in 2017, and eight WNIT appearances, including a WNIT championship crown in 2011. Toledo won the Jacoby Trophy as the MAC’s Best Sports Program for Women in 2011-12 and 2017-18.

Mike O’Brien was named to the Northeast Region Football Bowl SubdivisionSports Director of the Year 2012.

In the classroom, Toledo has achieved a grade point average of over 3.3 for the past four semesters, including a school record GPA of 3.527 in Spring 2020.

Toledo has won the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award for five of the past eight years, given annually to the school with the highest grade point average.

O’Brien was also instrumental in initiating some of the most ambitious construction projects in school history. No fewer than six major projects and numerous smaller ones were completed during O’Brien’s tenure. Major projects include the Charles A. Sullivan Athletic Complex and the Savage Arena renovation project (2008); the Fetterman Training Center (2010); Renovation of the Larimer Athletic Complex (2014); Expansion and renovation of the Savage Arena (2016); and the construction of a new soccer field, Paul Hotmer Field, on the main campus (2019).

Other O’Brien achievements include adding Ohio State, Miami, Florida, Colorado, Purdue, Arizona, Missouri, Marine, Kentucky, Boise State, BYU, Iowa State, Colorado State, and Cincinnati to the home football schedule. Securing Savage Arena to host the first and second rounds of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships; Working with Inverness Club to bring the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships to Toledo; Entered into a multi-year deal with Learfield Sports to increase Toledo’s advertising revenue; and team up with The Aspire Group to increase ticket sales.

In 2017, O’Brien helped negotiate a six-year deal that would make Nike the official brand of athletic shoes, accessories and equipment for all of Toledo’s 16 varsity sports.

O’Brien is currently a member of the prestigious NCAA Division I Basketball Committee for Men. He was previously a member of the NCAA Division I Council and a member of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Competition Oversight Committee. He also chairs the MAC Football Coaches Committee and serves as the Conference Sports Director on the College Football Playoff Committee (formerly the Bowl Championship Series). He was Chairman of the Athletic Director’s Committee of the Mid-American Conference and a member of the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee.

Prior to his appointment in Toledo, O’Brien had 15 years of track and field administration experience at four universities: Kansas State (Associate AD, 1997-2001), Lamar (Sports Director, 1993-97), and Pittsburgh (Development Director 1989-). 93) and Ball State (Marketing and Development, 1986-89).

O’Brien is from Iowa City, Iowa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Valley College in 1975 and a master’s degree in education from Wisconsin-River Falls in 1982 and in sports management from western Illinois in 1986.

Prior to his administrative career, O’Brien was an assistant basketball coach at three different schools from 1982 to 1986.
O’Brien and his wife Michelle have a son Jack, who is a freshman at TCU.