University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler named Mark Coyle as director of Gopher Athletics on May 11, 2016. Coyle’s hiring was approved by the University’s Board of Regents on May 13, 2016, and his first day on the job at Minnesota was May 31, 2016.
Coyle, a former athletic administrator at Minnesota, returns to Gopher Athletics after serving as athletics director at Syracuse University and Boise State University and as deputy athletics director at the University of Kentucky.
“I am absolutely confident that Mark’s commitment to student-athlete welfare and academic excellence and skills in such areas as fundraising and external relations will make him extremely successful at the U,” Kaler said. “Make no mistake, the hiring of Mark Coyle signifies that the University of Minnesota has the highest expectations for excellence in competition and in the classroom, while also running a department that exemplifies unblemished character and citizenship as representatives of the University.”
Coyle, 47, served as Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at the University of Minnesota from 2001 to 2005, where he was responsible for managing the marketing and sales unit, athletic communications, the ticket office and licensing.
Coyle’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive national search process led by Turnkey Sports, a top search firm in college and professional sports, entertainment and media. The 16-member search committee was co-chaired by Dr. Perry Leo, professor of Aerospace Engineering and faculty athletics representative, and Dr. Katrice Albert, vice president for Equity and Diversity.
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to return to the University of Minnesota and the Big Ten,” Coyle said. “This is a tremendous athletics department made up of talented student-athletes and accomplished coaches. I loved my time in Gopher Athletics during an earlier part of my career and I look forward to leading the athletic programs of this great University.”
While at Syracuse, Coyle guided the Orange during a year in which both the field hockey and men’s cross country programs won national titles, the men’s soccer team qualified for the College Cup, and both the men’s and women’s basketball teams competed in the Final Four. The Orange also won five Atlantic Coast Conference titles under Coyle’s watch during 2015-16 season.
During Coyle’s tenure at Boise State, Bronco Athletic teams posted the highest grade-point average in school history, with 18 teams setting team GPA records and more than 72 percent of the student-athletes earning above a 3.0. Four Boise State teams–football, women’s golf, women’s tennis and volleyball–earned Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA in 2015 for having multi-year APR scores in the top-10 percent of their respective sports.
Athletically, Boise State won 12 conference championships under Coyle’s leadership, including football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s gymnastics, women’s swimming and diving and men’s tennis. During the 2014-15 academic year, Boise State was the only Football Bowl Subdivision school in the country to win football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball conference championships.
Prior to joining Boise State, Coyle served in several roles in the athletics department at University of Kentucky, first as an associate athletics director in fundraising and development. He was quickly promoted to senior associate athletics director for external affairs, a position he held for four years before being named deputy director of athletics. At University of Kentucky, Coyle successfully raised more than $140 million in annual donations and capital pledges and served as a sport administrator for multiple teams including men’s basketball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s golf. Coyle managed football and men’s basketball scheduling, oversaw hiring of head coaches and support staff, and was involved with recruits during campus visits. In 2011 he supervised the men’s basketball program, which advanced to the NCAA Final Four.
A former football student-athlete, Coyle graduated from Drake University with his bachelor degree in English in 1991. He earned his master’s degree in teaching from Drake University in 1992 and a master’s degree in sports administration from Florida State University in 1993. Coyle and his wife Krystan, a physical therapist, have three children, Grace, Nicholas and Benjamin.