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Athletic Director Dr. David Stair announces retirement after 32 years

February 24, 2014 | Evangel University News

Effective in July, Evangel’s athletic programs will have new leadership for the first time in more than 30 years. Director of athletics Dr. David Stair and athletics administrator Faye Liddle have each announced plans to retire.

Stair has served in his role since 1982 and has worked for the university since 1976. He also coached women’s basketball for five seasons and women’s tennis for six.

“For 38 years I have had the privilege of working with the finest administrators, coaches, athletics staff and student-athletes,” says Stair. “It’s time to hand the baton to someone younger who will raise the bar and lead the university to even greater national prominence.”

Evangel president elect and CEO, Dr. Carol Taylor, says she has appreciated Stair’s leadership over his department.

“One of the things that has impressed me about David Stair has been his consistent focus and advocacy for excellence in athletics at Evangel. In his final year, there is no coasting, no easing up on the intensity of his work to pursue the best for athletics. It has been a joy to work with David this year, and I wish him every happiness and deep satisfaction in his next season.”

Achievements and honors

Stair has been recognized as one of the top athletic administrators in the country. He is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Berwick Bulldogs Hall of Fame in his hometown of Berwick, Pa.

Evangel president Dr. Robert Spence, nearing his own retirement after 40 years of service, says Stair’s character has played a key role in the success of Evangel athletics.

“I have worked very closely with Dr. Stair for 35 years, and I have found him to be a man who’s always led with the highest level of integrity,” says Spence. “He administers with excellence and has given great emphasis to strong academic performance by our athletes.”

Stair helped transform Evangel athletics during his time at the helm. He expanded the department to include men’s and women’s indoor track and field and revived the outdoor track and field programs. He also saw the addition of men’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country and softball.  He guided the university to their first conference affiliation joining the Heart of America Athletic Conference in 1987.

Since then, Evangel has won 36 conference championships in 10 different sports. The Crusaders captured an NAIA-II national championship in men’s basketball in 2002, advanced to two national semifinals in football, two NAIA-II national semifinal appearances in women’s basketball and had two athletes win individual national championships in track and field. Working in conjunction with the conference six years ago, he led Evangel’s move to the NAIA Division I level in men’s and women’s basketball and both programs have advanced to the national tournament multiple times.

Under Stair, the athletic department also won the Heart of America conference Sportsmanship Award in four of the five years it was awarded between 2006 and 2010.

As a department chair and professor, Stair was honored with Evangel’s E.M. and Estella Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service in 2004. He also founded Evangel’s Athletic Hall of Fame and has served on the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Springfield Sports Commission boards since the inception of both organizations.

Assistant also set to retire

Joining Stair in retirement is administrative assistant Faye Liddle. She has worked in the department since 1986 and at Evangel since 1982. Liddle manages the ticket office for football and basketball games in addition to the administration of the athletics office. Along with her husband, Gary Liddle, an Evangel professor since 1977, she was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Evangel Alumni Association in 2012.

Evangel’s next athletic director will only be the fourth in the school’s 59 year history. A search will begin immediately with university vice president for academic affairs Dr. Glenn Bernet leading the search committee. Bernet, who has served as academic dean at Evangel since 1985, said he admires Stair’s commitment to developing a well-rounded athletic program.

“Dr. Stair has established an athletics program that is well defined and integral to the mission of the university,” says Bernet.  “He brought Evangel sports from an independent non-affiliated collection of teams to a well-respected and highly competitive member of the NAIA and the Heart of America Conference. All of this he has done with a keen sense of responsibility for the academic success of the athletes we recruit.”

Photo courtesy of Woodie Moore.

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