Marquette hires Ball State’s Scholl as athletic director

Marquette University has named Bill Scholl vice president and director of athletics, the school announced Tuesday.

Scholl comes to Marquette from Ball State University where he served as director of intercollegiate athletics since 2012. He will begin at Marquette in mid-October, replacing interim athletic director Bill Cords.

"Our search committee did a tremendous job of finding a leader who embraces our tradition, shares our values and shows an adept ability to navigate the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics," Marquette president Michael R. Lovell said in a release put out by the school.  "Bill brings a combination of strong leadership qualities that are grounded in integrity, an extensive history of leading successful athletic programs and a track record of developing student-athletes who are scholars and who compete at the highest level of NCAA athletics."

In Scholl’s time at Ball State, the Cardinals have had eight programs reach the postseason and 13 teams finish first or second in the Mid-American Conference. Scholl has also served as chairperson of the MAC’s basketball issues working group and was a member of the conference’s finance committee.

Ball State’s student-athletes were successful in the classroom under Scholl, with 14 programs scoring better than the Division I average in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report.

"Marquette clearly is committed to excellence in all of its athletics programs and boasts one of the premier men’s basketball programs in the nation," Scholl said in the release.  "I look forward not only to helping maintain that standard but working with our programs as we strive to reach new heights.  Equally important to me is the fit I have with the faith-based values of Marquette. Through my discussions with university leaders, I am excited to be part of a culture that is so genuinely committed to service."

Scholl hired seven coaches during his time at Ball State, four of whom have already led their programs to a first or second place finish in the MAC.

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"Bill Scholl is a great man who made a tremendous impact on our department’s culture, image on campus and fundraising efforts," Ball State football coach Pete Lembo said. "I will be forever grateful for the great working relationship that we had the last two years. I wish him well in this new opportunity."

"It was a great pleasure working with Bill over the past 16 months," Ball State men’s basketball coach James Whitford said. "He brought an energy and passion to work every day, and always had the best interest of his student athletes and coaches at heart. Bill is one of the best athletic directors in the country. He will be missed."

Before serving as Ball State’s athletic director, Scholl spent 23 years at Notre Dame in a variety of capacities. He joined Notre Dame as the school’s sports marketing manager in 1989, was the director of ticketing and marketing from 1992-95, assistant athletics director from 1995-2004, senior associate athletics director from 2004-09 and deputy athletics director from 2009-12.

Marquette chose Scholl from a candidate pool that included sitting athletic directors, deputy athletic directors and candidates outside of collegiate athletics. Dr. Bill Henk, dean of Marquette’s College of Education, chaired the search committee.

Larry Williams resigned from Marquette abruptly in December, leaving the university to turn to Cords, who was the school’s athletic director from 1987-2007, on an interim basis.   

Prior to Williams taking the job in 2012, Steve Cottingham held the position for five years before stepping down as athletics director in 2011 after two separate sexual assault allegations came out against student-athletes.

With a new president in place in Lovell, Marquette is looking for Scholl to provide stability to the athletics department.

"This process was an excellent marriage between our talented Korn/Ferry search firm partners and our deeply thoughtful search committee, one that resulted in hiring a seasoned athletic leader with integrity and vision," Henk said. "In addition to seeking a proven winner, we aspired to securing an athletic director who understood Marquette, our mission, and the importance of the student-athlete experience."

Scholl graduated from Notre Dame in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies. He and his wife, Julie, have three children: Michael, Stefanie and Kelly.

"I am truly honored and thrilled to join the Marquette family," Scholl said. "I want to thank Dr. Lovell, Bill Henk and the search committee, as well as everyone I met with and spoke to about this position. It is clear how much everyone here loves Marquette, the mission of the university, and the fact that athletics is part of the fabric at this great institution."

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