Dave Heeke (pronounced Hee-key) was named Vice President and Director of Athletics at the University Arizona in February of 2017. Heeke’s vision for Arizona Athletics centers around a culture of excellence, a focus on a first-class student-athlete experience, championship-caliber competitive performances in competition and in the classroom; as well as enhancing fan experience and providing a tremendous workplace environment. His drive as a leader of a nationally-elite athletics program also aims to support the University of Arizona in its mission and goals as a point pride around the nation. Making strategic enhancements in the operation of the athletics department has been Heeke’s calling card for building a thriving and secure foundation for growth and sustainable success.
Beginning in September of 2018, Heeke led a transformative capital investment of $66 million as Arizona Athletics made critical facility enhancements with renovations of the east side of Arizona Stadium, Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, Hillenbrand Softball Stadium, McKale Center locker rooms and the construction of the Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center.
Another area of emphasis for Heeke has been prioritizing a culture of supporting diversity and inclusion throughout the athletics department. Heeke created the new position of Assistant Athletics Director for Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Engagement in September of 2019 to support the expanded emphasis and energy behind education, programming, and training for all staff and student-athletes. In addition to this position, he also supported the creation of a robust Inclusive Excellence Council within the department.
Heeke is no stranger to the Pac-12 Conference after 18 years at the University of Oregon where he assisted the athletics director with the daily operation of the Ducks’ department of 17 sports and one of the largest budgets in the Pac-12. Heeke served on the AD’s executive staff and was responsible for strategic planning and financial models. In addition to representing the AD at University and conference meetings, he managed all facets of internal operations, while being responsible for revenue generation through external operations units. He assisted in the $95 million football stadium expansion as well as the construction of a $14 million indoor football practice facility and a $5 million soccer stadium.
An East Lansing, Michigan native, Heeke received a bachelor’s degree from Albion College in 1985 and a master’s degree from Ohio State University in 1987. At Albion, he was a co-captain of the baseball team and a member of the club hockey team. He was a three-sport athlete at East Lansing High School and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the East Lansing Educational Foundation in 2007. Heeke and his wife, Liz, have three boys, Max, Zach, Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Merissa.