Rick Hart was named SMU’s Director of Athletics on July 16, 2012.
During Hart’s six years on the Hilltop, SMU student-athletes have excelled in the classroom, as over 65% of the student-athlete population holds cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher.
SMU has also excelled athletically, winning 19 conference team championships and consistently finishing among the leaders in the American Athletic Conference, with nine sports finishing in the top three of their respective conferences in 2017-18.
SMU has also connected with the community, as Mustang student-athletes logged 3,557 community service hours during the 2017-18 academic year, an amount almost equivalent to two entire years’ worth of work. The community has responded to SMU as well, increasing attendance at events and donations to the department.
Due to the generosity of alumni and friends, donor support has grown each of the last six years. In 2017-18, donors contributed a record $24.3M to support SMU Athletics and its 424 student-athletes. The $24.3M represents a 31% increase in total athletics giving year-over-year and marks the biggest fundraising year for athletics in the history of the university.
During Hart’s time, SMU has renovated and expanded Moody Coliseum and opened numerous new facilities including the Miller Event Center, the SMU Tennis Complex, the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium and the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at Trinity Forest Golf Club. SMU has also broken ground on an indoor performance center.
Hart also developed and installed the Strategic Plan for SMU Athletics titled, “The SMU Advantage.” The SMU Advantage consists of a departmental vision, mission, values and goals and operates on a principle of S.P.I.R.I.T. (Service, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork), with a focus on the student-athlete and aligning the Athletics Department with the educational mission of the University.
Hart has served on the NACDA Executive Committee, the NCAA Division I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet, the FCS Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee and as a faculty member for the D1-A Athletics Directors’ Institute. Hart is an active speaker, and has made presentations at the Career in Sports Seminar, the NACDA Leadership Institute, the Texas High School Athletic Directors’ Association and the Dallas Women’s Club, to name a few.
Hart came to SMU after six years as Director of Athletics at Tennessee at Chattanooga. Hart served seven years at Oklahoma in various athletics administrative capacities, ending as the Senior Associate Athletics Director in 2006. Hart has also worked in athletics at North Carolina and East Carolina and has served with the U.S. Olympic Committee.
A graduate of UNC, Hart earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health and sport science. Hart and his wife, Allison, also a graduate of North Carolina, are proud parents of Trevor, who will enroll at SMU in the fall, and Caroline (Carly), who attends Highland Park High School.
A third-generation athletics administrator, Hart’s father, Dave, served as Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee, Florida State and East Carolina, and his late grandfather, Dave Sr., served in a variety of roles within collegiate athletics including stints as a Coach, Athletics Director and Conference Commissioner.