Jeff Bourne assumed the position as James Madison’s director of athletics in spring of 1999 and has guided the program to unprecedented heights in two decades in Harrisonburg. The Dukes are consistently near the top of the Colonial Athletic Association across most of its 18 sports with 79 total conference championships under Bourne’s watch and routinely factor into the regional and national discussion among peers at the NCAA Division I/FCS level.
The portfolio of national success built under his watch was a major criteria in JMU earning an invitation to the Sun Belt Conference. The Dukes begin competition in the SBC on July 1, 2022 while elevating the football program’s status with a transition to the FBS level, which is slated to take effect no later than the 2024 season. The Sun Belt is one of the best conferences at the group of five level, and places JMU in an attractive division with regional institutions, such as: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Marshall and Old Dominion.
Bourne has orchestrated a high rate of departmental success while also emphasizing the impact of each individual, establishing the vision of James Madison serving as the NCAA model of the student-athlete experience. As such, JMU celebrates the achievement of its student-athletes both in competition and in the classroom, while also stressing the importance of civic and community engagement in developing a holistic individual.
Competitively, the Dukes have cemented themselves in Bourne’s latter years as the model athletics program. JMU captured three consecutive recognitions by the Virginia Hall of Fame and Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) for accumulating the best winning percentage across all of the department’s sport programs.
Prior to arriving at JMU in 1999, Bourne served in several athletics roles at Virginia Tech from 1986-97 and was senior associate athletics director at Georgia Tech from 1997-99. At Georgia Tech, he supervised finance, marketing and promotions, ticketing, sports information, and radio and television broadcasts and production. He also was liaison to the Alexander-Tharpe fund, the university’s development arm, and administered baseball and golf.
Bourne is a Salem, Virginia native and a graduate of nearby Bridgewater College with a degree in business administration and accounting in 1981. He completed his master’s degree in education and sports management at Virginia Tech in 1994. He worked for four years in public accounting and received his certification in public accountancy before moving to Virginia Tech, where he first was an internal auditor and a consultant to the athletic business office. He is a 1994 graduate of the Sports Management Institute Executive Program from the University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California.