When Joe Castiglione came to Oklahoma, he inherited one of the most storied programs in college athletics, and he set about creating a positive culture where core values, a dynamic mission and a collaborative spirit develop a world class experience for student-athletes.
Some would argue that his 17-year tenure represents the best of the best. With 10 national championships and 72 conference titles, including five in the 2014-15 academic year, during his tenure, Castiglione’s record is certainly one of great merit. Add in the record progress in the classroom for our Sooners and you get a sense of the overall excellence that Castiglione has encouraged and built.
The 11th and second longest serving director of athletics at OU, Castiglione arrived on the Sooner campus in summer of 1998 and what he found was nothing like what we see today. He made a number of changes, and, in the process, created a team of administrators, coaches and support staff who pursue and achieve lofty goals under the banner of ethical integrity.
The Sooners continue to rank among the top 25 in the annual Learfield Director’s Cup, including an all-time best of seventh in 2012-13. The 2014-15 competitive season resulted in OU’s sixth consecutive top 25 finish out of 289 teams that were ranked and the 15th in the top 30 in Castiglione’s 17 seasons at the helm.
Since arriving at OU, Castiglione has insisted that daily and long-term decisions be made in a financially responsible manner. The department has closed the books in the black in each of the last 17 years, making it one of the very few Division I programs which remain totally self-sustaining. His understanding of how the department fits into the University’s academic mission led to a decision to increase the direct support provided by the department on an annual basis. The most recent demonstration of that commitment led to a partnership with President Boren’s office that eliminated the admission fee at OU’s internationally known Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. Through direct and indirect support, OU Athletics provides more than $8 million annually to OU’s academics budget.
In recognition of the many achievements of his tenure, Castiglione was named National Athletic Director of the Year in May 2009 by the Sports Business Journal. The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame named him the 2013 recipient of the John L. Toner Award, presented annually by the NFF to an athletic director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. In April 2014, Castilgione received the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award for Sports Excellence from Oklahoma City University.
His peers have honored him as well. In November 2012, the United States Sports Academy named him the winner of the Carl Maddox Sports Management Award. In October 2004, the Bobby Dodd Foundation named him Athletics Director of the Year. In 2003, he was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators Hall of Fame. In June 2001, he received the General Robert R. Neyland Athletic Director Award for lifetime achievement from the All-American Football Foundation. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) named him Central Region AD of the Year in 2000.
He served three terms as the chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors and is a past president of both the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and NACDA. He served a four-year term on the NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet and the NCAA Baseball Committee and is a past member of the NCAA Football Special Events Certification Committee. He has served on the NCAA Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Discussion Group, the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Career and Education Strategic Working Group and the NCAA Football Issues Committee of which he now serves as chairman. A former member of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation Board of Trustees, he is a highly requested speaker at annual conventions and continuing education institutes. In November 2011, his hometown recognized him by selecting him for the Broward County (Fla.) Sports Hall of Fame.
His involvement in the local community has led to service with civic clubs, churches and charities, including the United Way of Norman, recently serving his third term as OU’s campus co-chair, which resulted in the highest recorded contributions ever by faculty, staff and students to the United Way of Norman’s annual campaign. He encourages student-athletes and athletics staff to participate in those efforts as well, and in 2014-15, OU Athletics representatives logged more than 4,000 hours of community service.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Castiglione is married to the former Kristen Bartel, a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri. They are the parents of two sons, Joseph Robert, Jr. and Jonathan Edmund.