California State University, Long Beach
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Cegles Named I-AAA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year

Published: June 1, 2015

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Vic Cegles on the floor of the Walter Pyramid.

CSULB Athletics Director Vic Cegles has been named as a recipient of the 2014-15 I-AAA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year, awarded annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The award, selected by his peers, is given to top athletic directors among Division I, non-football schools.

Cegles will formally accept the award, amongst his peers, at NACDA’s annual convention, held in Orlando, Fla., from June 14-17.

“Universities’ reputations can rise and fall on their athletic departments,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “What happens on and off fields of play makes such a difference for the student athletes, the student body, and for the university and its supporters. Long Beach State is so fortunate to have Vic Cegles as its athletics director. I trust his decision-making skills, focus on student development, and ethics completely. He is a most worthy winner of NACDA’s National Athletic Director of the Year Award.”

Cegles has been instrumental in increasing both revenue and donations in his time as the leader of the university’s Athletics Department. After coming to the Beach from Temple University, Cegles restructured both the development arm of athletics as well as the volunteer structure, making an immediate impact in both the excitement and involvement of not just CSULB’s donor base, but the fan base as a whole.

“I am fortunate to work with outstanding coaches and administrators who are committed to the educational values of intercollegiate athletics, and it is a privilege to engage a community of alumni and friends who believe in supporting our mission of student-athlete success,” Cegles said.

Establishing the Beach Athletic Club in his first year, the revamped center of fundraising for athletics, Cegles and his team have raised more than $20 million over the last eight years in support of scholarships, student-athlete programs, capital improvements and increasing endowment.

Part of that effort was to create an Athletics Board of Directors, which has grown to more than 20 members who have made a significant monetary investment into CSULB, in addition to providing a support base for both community engagement and the direction of the athletic programs.

Additionally, CSULB’s primary giving level of $1,500 annually, the Director’s Circle, has grown by more than 200 members during Cegles’ tenure. Those efforts helped push CSULB’s annual fund past $1 million for the first time ever in 2011-12, and the Beach Athletic Club’s annual total has grown ever since.

That increase in revenue has led to major capital improvements across the board for all 19 of CSULB’s Division I sports.

The Walter Pyramid, home to the program’s indoor sports, has had some of the most significant changes, as the 20-year old facility continues to be one of the highlights of the university and an icon in the City of Long Beach. Installed in the last year were both a new 38,000-square-foot maple floor and the largest on-campus basketball video board in the nation, a 60-by-14 foot LED panel with in-house production handled in a collaborative effort between athletics and CSULB students.

Other improvements to the Walter Pyramid under Cegles include a $2 million renovation of the locker rooms, a rebranding and renovation of the Ukleja Athletics Suite, and the relocation of the strength and conditioning program to a larger and better area contained within the facility.

Partnering with the City of Long Beach, in 2011 CSULB athletics entered into a 55-year lease to take over the daily operations of Blair Field, the home of Dirtbag baseball. Since then CSULB has installed a new scoreboard and video board at Blair Field, and is undertaking Phase I of a $17 million renovation plan for the historic ballpark located in the heart of Recreation Park.

The Rhodes Tennis Center was entirely redone, a 20-court facility which now features lights and a scoreboard, while the home of women’s soccer, George Allen Field, also has seen the addition of lights and a permanent scoreboard under Cegles. The 49er Softball Complex received a new scoreboard and infrastructure improvements as well as detailed in Cegles $25 million capital improvement campaign.

CSULB was one of the first schools to implement sand volleyball in 2012 following the NCAA’s decision to classify it as an emerging sport. Working to help keep costs at a minimum, CSULB was able to fund the sport and build a competition facility on campus, while seeing tremendous success during the sport’s growing years. The Beach reached the national finals three times as well as winning the 2013 national championship, and remains one of the top programs in the nation as the sport enters NCAA Championship competition in 2016.

Thanks to a legacy gift from Water Polo Hall of Fame coach Ken Lindgren, CSULB was also able to significantly upgrade its water polo facility, renamed the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center in honor of the former 49er head coach. Seating at the pool was renovated and increased, and lights as well as a digital video board and scoreboard were installed.

Finally, the university has supported Cegles and the track and field programs with funding for a complete rebuild of the aging Jack Rose Track and Field Stadium. The project is turning a facility into a jewel of West Coast track and field.

Completed in late May, the stadium will be one of only seven facilities on a college campus that will be IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) certified. CSULB will host the 2016 Big West Conference Track and Field Championships.

The end result of the relentless drive from Cegles for improvements among facilities and fundraising has been an entry into a golden era of success for CSULB Athletics.

Over the last eight years, the 49ers have had 14 of the 19 intercollegiate programs reach postseason play, with half of CSULB’s 14 programs competing in the Big West winning multiple conference championships over that time.

“In my 30 years at the Division I level Vic (Cegles) is as good as any A.D. I have been involved with, regardless if they have football,” said men’s head basketball coach Dan Monson. “Vic gets it; he supports, he mentors, he leads, he understands. I consider Vic not only a great boss, but also a great friend.”

The Beach has become a beacon of success among Big West programs, winning four straight Big West Commissioner’s Cups, awarded annually to the most successful athletic department in all sports.

That success has translated to the classroom as well. CSULB is the only school in the CSU system to have passed the NCAA’s APR Minimum in all sports in each of the last eight years, ever since the program went to the four-year standard.