SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Dr. David Stair has been inducted into his fourth Hall of Fame in recognition of his sterling 38-year career at Evangel University, 32 of which he served as director of athletics.
The National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) honored Stair with enshrinement into its Hall of Fame on June 14, 2016, during its 51st Annual Convention. The ceremony was held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Stair is also a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Berwick Bulldogs Hall of Fame in his hometown of Berwick, Pa.
The NACDA is the largest association of collegiate athletics administrators, with a membership of more than 12,500 individuals and more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Members include athletic directors, associate and assistant athletic directors, conference commissioners and affiliate individuals or corporations.
“Induction into the NACDA Hall of Fame is a huge honor; but it is not just recognition for me,” said Stair. “This is an indication of all the support I received during my career from family, colleagues, athletes and university administration.”
Stair joined the faculty and coaching staff at Evangel in 1976 and served as athletic director from 1982 to 2014.
“NACDA is the best educational and networking resource for anyone working in the collegiate athletics field,” he continued. “So this award is significant recognition for the Evangel University Athletics Department and for Evangel University as an institution.”
Dr. Dennis McDonald, is one of many who has been impacted by Stair. He is a former student athlete, former assistant coach, and now serves as director of athletics at Evangel.
“Dr. Stair is the perfect example of a servant leader,” said McDonald. “He placed an emphasis on the balanced integration of athletic excellence, academic performance and spiritual growth in our student athletes.”
That emphasis included helping implement overseas opportunities and service trips for Evangel sports. The Crusaders football team traveled to China and Kyrgyzstan, the baseball team to Mexico and several teams to Guatemala.
“During his career, Dr. Stair was recognized as one of the top athletic administrators in the country,” added McDonald. “He served on a variety of local, state and national committees, including as president of the NAIA Athletics Director’s Association for two years and secretary on the governing board of the NACDA for five years.”
Locally, he was a founding member on both the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame executive board and the Greater Springfield Sports Commission.
A career of accomplishments
In addition to serving as director of athletics, Stair coached Evangel’s women’s basketball for five seasons from 1979-84, women’s tennis for six years (1977-82) and served as department chair of the Physical Education Department (now Kinesiology) from 1999-2007.
Highlights of his coaching career at Evangel include the college’s first national ranking in any sport (No. 17, 1979-80 basketball), the selection of the school’s first female all-America player (Tracy Zinn, 1981), and two state tennis championships (1980, 1981).
As a department chair and professor, Stair was honored with Evangel’s E.M. & Estella Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service in 2004.
Stair also helped transform Evangel intercollegiate athletics, overseeing the growth of a department that revived a dormant men’s and women’s track and field program and saw the addition of men’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country and softball.
During his final months as athletic director, he completed the work of adding of men’s and women’s soccer at Evangel, and those teams played their inaugural seasons last fall.
Stair also guided the university to their first conference affiliation, joining the Heart of America Athletic Conference in 1987. Since then, Evangel teams won 36 conference championships in 10 different sports from 1988 to 2014, and his teams advanced to a total of 48 NAIA national and regional championship tournaments.
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 semifinals in women’s basketball and had two individuals win national championships in track and field.
Working in conjunction with the Heart of America conference in 2009, Stair led Evangel’s move to the NAIA Division I level in men’s and women’s basketball, and both programs have advanced to the NAIA-I national tournament a combined eight times in eight years.
The NACDA honored Stair in 2004 as the NAIA Central Region Athletic Director of the Year.
In 2001, he was awarded the NAIA Region V Athletic Director of Year, and he was the NAIA-ADA Male Athletics Administrator of the Year in 1995. He was also honored as the NAIA District 16 Athletic Director of the Year in 1988.
The Evangel Athletic Department won the Heart of America conference Sportsmanship Award in four of the five years it was awarded, between 2006 and 2010.
Stair earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973 from State University College in Cortland, N.Y., his master’s degree in 1974 from the same university and his doctorate in 1981 from the University of Arkansas.