Jim Schaus was named the Director of Athletics at Ohio University on April 7, 2008.
Schaus has assisted in building one of the most successful overall programs in the Mid-American Conference. In 2010, the department was ranked 12th nationally for economic efficiency based on resourceful investment and team success. He has guided the effort to transform a $2.3 million annual operating budget shortfall into a balanced budget in two years through increased resources and strategic reductions and helped the department meet annual budget projections in all three years of his leadership. He has developed a comprehensive, five-year strategic plan which produced 96% completion rate in just three years.
The 2009 football team finished 9-5 with an appearance in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the 2010 squad posted an 8-5 mark and another bowl appearance at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Men’s basketball won the MAC Tournament Championship in 2010 and defeated nationally-ranked Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament. Volleyball has won three consecutive MAC titles and three NCAA appearances with two tournament victories. The program has won nine conference championships in the past ten years.
The department has set all-time revenue records for annual fundraising, season ticket sales, total ticket revenue, sponsorships, licensing and concessions under his leadership. Ohio has increased annual giving and membership by 20 percent during the past three years and has established a new statewide volunteer annual giving program, spring Caravans events and a major gift prospect management system. He is currently directing a $20 million capital campaign effort, which has included major gifts for Ohio University’s new Multi- Purpose Center and Convocation Center projects. He also assisted in the cultivation of the largest single gift in athletic department history ($10 million).
Ohio’s student-athletes have amassed a 3.1 overall GPA during his tenure and 94% of those that have completed their eligibility have graduated. The Bobcats are among the national leaders in graduation success rate in several sports and the department is one of only 17 Division I schools to have never committed a major NCAA violation.
Schaus has also participated in the university’s shared governance structure through President McDavis’ Executive Cabinet, Deans Cabinet. Schaus also attends University Trustees and Foundation Board meetings and serves on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee and the MAC Strategic Planning Committee.
Since assuming control of the WSU department on July 1, 1999, Schaus reached the goal of making WSU one of the most competitive programs in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), a fact highlighted by WSU’s four-straight MVC all-sports trophies. The four-straight awards were highlighted by a WSU record seven conference titles in 2005-06, as well as 20 Valley team titles in the last four years. In addition, all Wichita State sports that sell tickets were ranked nationally in attendance during the past two years, which is undoubtedly a direct result of Schaus’ efforts to upgrade institutional athletics facilities. For his leadership and vision, he was named the Division I Central Region AstroTurf AD of the Year at the 2007 NACDA convention. The foundation for recent Shocker success, the $25 million Roundhouse Renaissance project, came to fruition in the autumn of 2003 with the completion of Charles Koch Arena, and surrounding Henry Levitt Athletic Complex.
In 2007, Wichita State won MVC team titles in women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and field, women’s outdoor track and field, women’s tennis and baseball. Nationally, men’s basketball rose to a #8 national ranking, while the baseball team made its 25th NCAA Tournament appearance in Gene Stephenson’s 30th season, playing host to an NCAA Super Regional for the first time since the format was restructured. Another highlight was the women’s tennis team’s first national ranking last season, while finishing the season 27-3, the most wins in school history. The tennis team also ranked #31 in the polls after starting the season unranked.
In 2006, WSU won a record seven Valley titles, which included the first men’s basketball title since 1983. The Shockers also won titles in men’s golf, women’s tennis, volleyball, women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and field and women’s outdoor track and field. The baseball team earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th time.
In order to create a solid foundation in his first year, Schaus restructured the department in an effort to create a business-like atmosphere, and in the process hired five head coaches and five new administrators. The department also completed the $7.8 million Eck Stadium-Home of Tyler Field project during his first year, further emphasizing Schaus’ commitment to ensuring WSU student-athletes have the best facilities in which to practice and play.
Schaus came to WSU with an impressive background in athletics administration with stints in collegiate athletics at Oregon, Cincinnati, Texas-El Paso and Northern Illinois. Known for his excellent communication skills, attention to detail and team-building skills, Schaus has spent nearly 24 years in athletics administration, with a substantial emphasis in external relations and internal management. In 1982, Schaus worked as an intern for the NFL’s New England Patriots, and after graduation worked as a publicity assistant for the LPGA Tour before heading to Washington as a director of marketing for the Redskins. Schaus has been a member of the initial NCAA Division I Committee on Academic Performance, an 11- member committee, which is made up of conference commissioners, athletics directors, NCAA staff and associate ADs, and is charged with administering the new system on academic reform.
In 1987, Schaus received his master’s degree in athletics administration from West Virginia and was recently honored as a distinguished alumnus by the university. In 1983, Schaus earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue.
Jim and his wife Priscilla have three children: Kevin, Diane and Laura.