Jim Knowlton, who has established himself as a dynamic leader and accomplished administrator through service in intercollegiate athletics and the U.S. Army, is in his third year as Director of Athletics at Cal after formally moving into the role on May 21, 2018.
Knowlton served as AD at Air Force for three years before his move to Berkeley, and he previously spent seven years overseeing the athletic department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was named the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Athletic Director of the Year.
During his first year in Berkeley in 2018-19, Knowlton embarked on a number of initiatives across many different areas, from academics and athletic performance to gender equity, budget and culture. Prominently among them was his Listening Days plan for all 30 teams and 15 administrative units. After a set period of discussion and analysis, priorities were determined for each program for implementation in an efficient and deliberate manner, all with a goal to move Cal Athletics, using his words, from good to great.
In addition to his tenure at Cal, Air Force and RPI, Knowlton is a former student-athlete and one-time faculty member at Army West Point, where also served as both a deputy director of athletics and interim athletic director at Army from 2003-06.
Knowlton’s career in athletics administration began as deputy director of athletics at Army West Point in 2003, where he oversaw more than 200 staff and supervised 25 intercollegiate teams with more than 1,000 student-athletes. After three years in the department, he left to become director of the Center for Enhanced Performance at West Point, leading a staff of 50 professionals who delivered training for peak performance in athletics, academics and military endeavors to cadets, soldiers and athletes both on and off campus.
Prior to Air Force, Knowlton served as director of athletics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., from 2008 until 2015.
Knowlton also represented RPI on the national level, including on the NACDA Executive Committee, the board of College Hockey, Inc., and as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee.
Knowlton is a registered professional engineer in the state of Virginia. He and his wife, Corey, have five sons: Jimmy, Patrick, Christopher, Mark and Shawn.