Lauren Cuddihy is a member of UAA’s track and field team.
After four years of holding the position, Athletic Director Keith Hackett announced that he was stepping down from the position in order to take the same position at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
During Hackett’s short time as director of the 13-sport NCAA program, UAA has qualified 94 athletes for All-American status, secured 21 Great Northwest Athletic Conference team titles and accomplished national top-3 finishes in women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s cross country.
The achievements made in Hackett’s four years weren’t just athletic; the department made significant academic progress as well. Just this past spring, the student-athletes produced a semester record overall grade-point-average of 3.32. During Hackett’s impressive academic leadership over the program, the Seawolves were able to accumulate a 3.15 overall GPA for every year. In addition, of the nearly 180 athletes in the the program, 116 student athletes had over a 3.0 GPA.
“It’s one of the things we are most proud of; the successes that our student athletes are having, and not just in their areas of competition but in the class room as well,” Hackett said.
Hackett always had the student athletes’ best interest in mind; his 39 years of higher education experience led him to invest in many opportunities and agreements that helped produce the best facilities and experiences for the students.
Many other University officials, such as Chancellor Tom Case, recognized the successes that Hackett encountered during his time.
“[Hackett] came to the University during turbulent and challenging times in UAA Athletics; Keith not only met those challenges, but he helped shepherd the Seawolves to the most successful seasons in program history. The student-athletes, coaches, university community and fans will miss him.” Case said.
Through partnerships with Spectra and Learfield Sports, Hackett was able to equip the Alaska Airlines Center with the best management personnel as well as assist in media rights, sponsorships and development for the GCI Great Alaska Shootout.
In addition, Hackett has helped promote a positive experience for both the athletes as well as the staff and community involved. For example, athletes were often encouraged to gain volunteer experience throughout the community.
“I’m extremely proud of the community engagement by our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who have given more than 2,000 hours in the past year to volunteer projects,” Hackett said.
To gain even more local and national recognition, Hackett partnered with GCI, Alaska Airlines and national TV partner CBS Sports Network to publicize the GCI Great Alaska Shootout, as well as other home events. He also designated a significant amount of attention to the ‘Seawolf Fan Experience’ by helping raise $4 million for facility projects and support to UAA sports teams.
With the tremendous amount of success and experience Hackett has had at UAA, Cornell College’s athletic department will be in good hands.
“I am excited about the opportunity to continue my career in college athletics at a distinguished institution like Cornell College and to be much closer to our families,” Hackett said. “It has been a great privilege to work with and serve so many excellent student athletes, coaches and staff.”
Cornell College boasts a successful NCAA Division III program that sponsors 19 sports, including football. Hackett will begin his leadership at the college this fall and oversee the Midwest Conference program.
Hackett’s official departure from UAA will be on July 7.