Responsibilities of the Position

Reporting to the campus provost/executive vice chancellor, the director of athletics and recreation has overall responsibility for all aspects of the Department of Athletics and Recreation, including the visionary leadership, strategic development, management, coordination, and supervision of a comprehensive NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics program with 17 sports teams and approximately 363 scholar-athletes; leadership of the university’s non-credit bearing physical education program; and oversight of robust community wellness programming including sailing and boating opportunities at the Boating Center in Santa Cruz Harbor, aquatics, club sports, intramurals, outdoor programs, and group fitness. Additionally, the director is responsible for compliance with all institutional, Coast-to-Coast Conference, NCAA, Title IX, and other relevant policies, rules, and regulations. The director leads a team of over 50 coaches and administrative staff and oversees an operating budget of approximately $2.7 million.

Essential Functions and Duties

  • Directs the operational aspects of departmental programs, including administration, staff, organization, facilities, systems, and policy.
  • Ensures adherence to all governing rules, university, department, conference, and NCAA policies and procedures, including scholar-athlete benefits.
  • Develops department policies and procedures to support operational objectives.
  • Administers and manages the department’s budget and fiscal operations and is responsible for establishing and maintaining the department’s budget, practicing fiscal discipline, and enhancing revenue streams.
  • Oversees the hiring and retention of, as well as the terms and conditions of employment for all Athletics and Recreation staff, including coaches.
  • Promotes staff professional development; promotes diversity in hiring staff and head coaches and recruiting scholar-athletes, creating an atmosphere of inclusiveness and respect.
  • Provides leadership and innovation in fundraising and revenue development, collaborating with University Relations to identify funding priorities and successfully executing fundraising strategies.
  • Champions and strengthens the Division III scholar-athlete experience and experiences that elevate school spirit and pride among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.
  • Represents campus and the department to internal and external audiences, promoting the program in ways that reflect well on the university and foster a spirit of engagement.
  • Provides leadership within the university, community, and nationally, serving on committees.
  • Works effectively and collegially with partners across campus (including collaborating with administrative departments on recruiting and retaining scholar-athletes).
  • Interacts positively with alumni and friends of the university and serves as a spokesperson on athletics with the news media.


The Position

Qualifications and Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

A bachelor’s degree and significant, progressive professional experience leading a complex, dynamic, and diverse department, CPR/First Aid/AED certification (current or obtained within 60 calendar days of hire), and a valid driver’s license are required. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration, scholar-athlete development, NCAA compliance within a Division III environment, and an appreciation for recreation and physical education as a component of a comprehensive education. The next director should be able to mentor and inspire the professional development of coaching staff, recreation staff, and athletics administrators; support recreation in the holistic development of students; and demonstrate strategic planning acumen. A collaborative management approach, coupled with superior communication and relationship-building skills; a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social responsibility; strong planning and fiscal competencies; a familiarity with program development and assessment; and excellent problem-solving abilities are also desired. An advanced degree and significant capital planning and fundraising experience are preferred.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • A commitment to and passion for an intercollegiate athletics program that operates with the highest integrity and is focused on the holistic development of its scholar-athletes.
  • A significant understanding of NCAA Division III athletics in terms of program needs, compliance requirements, university rules and regulations, and Title IX regulations.
  • A significant understanding of budget and financing models and fundraising and revenue development, collaborating with University Relations to continue enhancing fundraising priorities and executing fundraising strategies.
  • Experience developing a departmental mission, vision, and culture that embraces a holistic and equitable understanding of program success and supports a competitive environment.
  • Strong strategic planning skills and an ability to build consensus and lead change for short-term and long-term goals.
  • A visible champion and advocate for the coaching staff and athletic programs.
  • A strong systems thinker who can create a culture of continuous innovation and establish effective change management processes to ensure all aspects of the university’s business model remain agile and adaptive to student needs and market demands.
  • An effective ambassador for athletics and intentional partner with Student Affairs and Success, Academic Affairs, Admissions, and University Affairs.
  • Ability to establish a rapport with staff, students, donors, alumni, faculty, community leaders, and other key constituents.
  • Inspire confidence, model relationship cultivation, and bring a sense of professionalism and passion to their work.
  • Promote excellence, respect tradition, support success, and inspire creativity, innovation, and possibilities.
  • Be positive, possess a growth mindset, and seek continuous improvement.
  • A leadership style that models good sporting conduct, fosters resiliency, and creates a culture of belonging and inclusiveness.
  • A highly collaborative and adaptable mindset, emotional intelligence, and ability to respond to changing dynamics as circumstances dictate.
  • Demonstrate a respect for shared governance.
  • Possess a spirit of creativity and innovation.
  • Demonstrate positive interpersonal skills of diplomacy, accessibility, and respect for the expertise and viewpoints of colleagues within and outside the department.

History of the Position

Susan Harriman served as director of athletics and recreation from 2018 to 2023. Under Harriman’s leadership, the Banana Slugs accomplished significant growth and success for the University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz/UCSC) community. Harriman’s leadership led to the university becoming a founding member of the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) in 2020. The formation of the new C2C conference was also paramount in allowing UC Santa Cruz to compete for automatic bids to NCAA championships in 13 of its 17 varsity sports programs. The Banana Slugs have since won four C2C conference championships in addition to five Banana Slugs earning C2C Player of the Year honors and six coaches receiving Conference Coach of the Year honors. In 2020, men’s swimming and diving won the program’s first-ever Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference title. Recreationally, Harriman focused on increasing equitable program and facility access to the student body. Working with the campus’ Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Harriman facilitated increased opportunities for students to participate in all recreational programming at no additional cost and ensured the effort was funded by existing institutional funding while simultaneously decreasing barriers to entry for students.

UC Santa Cruz has retained Spelman Johnson, a national executive search firm, to assist in recruiting the next director of athletics and recreation. The successful candidate will be expected to join the campus in early 2024.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

UC Santa Cruz is dedicated to finding a dynamic and visionary individual who can promote and develop the Athletics and Recreation staff, set departmental priorities, and work in tandem with the campus provost/executive vice chancellor, senior administrators, and the staff of the department to progressively, innovatively, and comprehensively move the Athletics and Recreation program forward.

In transitioning to UC Santa Cruz, the director of athletics and recreation will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key campus stakeholders:

  • An Athletics and Recreation vision: UC Santa Cruz has one of the largest student enrollments of any NCAA Division III program nationwide, and it stands as the sole institution within the University of California system offering an NCAA Division III athletic program. The next director of athletics will continue to create a vision for the department that celebrates and supports the distinctive needs of each area and identifies opportunities for synergy and cohesion. Establishing a clear vision requires a profound comprehension of NCAA athletics administration and an unwavering dedication to fostering recreational activities as an integral component in the holistic development of students.
  • Strategic planning: The next director will bring a strong strategic orientation to facilitate the establishment of departmental priorities for Athletics and Recreation that will address long-term funding and facilities master planning, staffing, revenue generation, and fundraising requirements. Given the intricacies of the fee and referendum funding model, the next director should demonstrate keen judgment in evaluating the existing organizational budget structure and propose a sustainable, forward-looking plan that aligns with the institution’s current strategic priorities, effectively meeting the rising demands and expectations of the community.
  • Conference alignment and identity: UC Santa Cruz joined the NCAA in 1980 as an independent school within Division III. In 2019, the university joined the American Collegiate Athletic Association, which merged with another conference to form the Coast-to-Coast Conference in 2020. While the current conference alignment provides scholar-athletes opportunities to compete against various institutions nationwide, it comes with increased travel costs and considerable time spent away from the classroom. Considering California’s existing Division III landscape, the next director should be well-prepared to evaluate and recommend a long-term NCAA division and conference alignment strategy. This evaluation should address institutional priorities, strategic positioning, and the specific needs of scholar-athletes’ experiences.
  • Fundraising and alumni engagement: An engaging and dynamic storyteller, the next director will champion strategic partnerships with University Relations, Fundraising, and Alumni Engagement. Athletics and Recreation is expected to support some operating needs through team and department-led fundraising. The director will strengthen relationships with alumni scholar-athletes, parents, and those engaged in recreation experiences to nurture their continued relationship with UC Santa Cruz.
  • Leadership around diversity, equity, and inclusion: The next director will continue to initiate and support institutional goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion by actively leading departmental conversations for staff and student-athletes, promoting training and staff development, and nurturing an equity-minded departmental culture.
  • Wellness agenda: The director of athletics and recreation will play a vital role in university-wide discussions regarding wellness trends and concerns. They should also be open to collaborating closely with important campus partners, including the faculty athletic representative, newly appointed leaders in Student Affairs and Success, such as the associate vice chancellor for student health and wellness and chief wellbeing officer, and the directors in the health center and counseling and psychological services. The physical education curriculum, intercollegiate athletics, and recreation activities are uniquely positioned to support all UC Santa Cruz students and institutional retention and engagement goals.
  • Communication: With a highly relational and communicative nature, the next director will strengthen communication and collaboration between Athletics and Recreation and the larger institution—Academic Affairs and the faculty athletic representative, Admissions, Student Affairs and Success, Facilities, University Relations, etc., and the greater Santa Cruz community with a particular focus on increasing efficiencies and opportunities that further support the student experience.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining UC Santa Cruz, the following items will initially define success for the new director:

  • The director inspires excellence and strengthens the opportunities within Athletics and Recreation with a focus on wellbeing and re-energized school spirit and traditions, and is inclusive of and seeks to engage all UC Santa Cruz students.
  • Athletics and Recreation staff can articulate a shared vision and mission and feel valued as team members. The staff see that communication throughout the department has increased in both quality and quantity.
  • The director will have demonstrated the ability to manage change for the department’s short- and long-term development, including staffing, professional development, facilities management, and strategic capital planning.
  • The director is a visible and highly accessible advocate for the coaches, staff, and programs.
  • The director has demonstrated a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective.
  • Students see the new director as an approachable and accessible champion who supports programs and uses a student-centered orientation to build rapport with students and to seek their input.
  • The new director has established strong relationships and partnerships with the Student Affairs and Success leadership team, University Relations, direct reports, scholar-athletes, faculty, alumni, and other key institutional stakeholders.
  • The director has assessed the current environment with the Athletics and Recreation staff and begun to define a comprehensive and equity-minded vision, a mission, and a plan for the future.
  • The director has defined, illustrated, and demonstrated internally and externally an understanding of competitiveness and scholar-athlete success that reflects the UC Santa Cruz mission and the goals of the NCAA.
  • The director will actively engage with university relations and leadership to support alumni engagement and fundraising initiatives aligned with the university’s departmental and strategic plans.
  • The director can articulate a passion and commitment to the mission of UC Santa Cruz, Banana Slug athletics, student success, and persistence.
  • The director seeks opportunities to celebrate and enhance the student experience; scholar-athletes see themselves as leaders and are developed throughout these experiences.

Institution & Location

Overview of Athletics and Recreation

UC Santa Cruz Department of Athletics and Recreation provides a wide variety of professional programs and physical activities, encouraging comprehensive health and lifelong wellness through physical activity, building community, and cultivating leadership.


The intercollegiate athletics program participates in NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics within the Coast-to-Coast Conference, which sponsors 17 men’s and women’s varsity teams. Since joining the NCAA in 1980, Banana Slug Athletics has won seven NCAA team titles, eighteen individual national titles, and earned 256 All-American awards. The university placed 86th in Division III’s 2022-23 Learfield Cup standings, with seven sports reaching the NCAA postseason.

Men’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Women’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

Coast–to–Coast Conference

Sammy The Banana Slug



Operating as one department, the Department of Athletics and Recreation programs are designed to serve UC Santa Cruz students, faculty and staff, retirees, alumni, and local community members.

Academic and Administrative Operations

Lori Kletzer, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer, UC Santa Cruz’s chief academic officer, is responsible for all academic divisions and units of the campus, including the University Library, UCSC Extension, and Athletics and Recreation. She is the chief budget officer for the campus, aligning campus expenditures with campus goals and the academic mission. Kletzer works closely with Chancellor Cindy Larive in providing guidance to the senior leadership team and ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the campus. She is the administration’s primary liaison with the university’s Academic Senate.

Kletzer’s priorities include supporting faculty in their teaching, research, creative scholarship, and service; advancing the diversity of the faculty; ensuring the academic needs of students are met; seeking new support and resources for the academic mission; growing the commitment to serving a diverse student population; and fostering an inclusive community for students, faculty, and staff.

Kletzer is a labor economist. Her research has focused on the domestic labor market effects of globalization and policy responses. She has been affiliated with UC Santa Cruz since 1992. She has contributed to campus as chair of the economics department, Academic Senate chair and vice chair, vice provost and dean of graduate studies, and acting/interim dean of the Division of the Arts. She was awarded an Academic Senate Excellence in Teaching award in 2003. Kletzer was provost and dean of faculty at Colby College from 2010 to July 2017. She earned her PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and her undergraduate degree from Vassar College.

Academic Goals

The Strategic Academic Plan

Reporting Units

Residential Colleges

Institutional Overview

UC Santa Cruz is a student-centered research university and a member of both the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the prestigious, ten-campus University of California system. UC Santa Cruz, founded in 1965, is distinguished by its residential college system through which students live and learn in small communities organized around themes of broad intellectual interest. UC Santa Cruz offers rigorous academic programs and cutting-edge research opportunities that teach students how to think, not what to think. The university is located among the redwoods on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 70 miles from San Francisco, and is ideally suited for year-round outdoor activity.

The university is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). UC Santa Cruz was proud to be named a Social Mobility Innovator in recognition of the ways in which it educates economically disadvantaged students who graduate and obtain high-paying jobs. United by pursuing social justice and environmental sustainability and driven by passion and curiosity, UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, staff, and alumni innovate across disciplines, seek to push the envelope of knowledge, and deploy their expertise and voice to advocate for transformative change.

Institutional Leadership

Cynthia K. Larive, Chancellor

As the 11th Chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, Cynthia K. Larive leads an institution known worldwide for its interdisciplinary approach to research for the public good and its commitment to social and environmental justice. Since its founding fewer than 60 years ago, UC Santa Cruz has been on an unprecedented trajectory, with its faculty advancing world-changing research and establishing its reputation as one of the most innovative, collaborative, and impactful institutions in higher education. It is where ideas are converted into action and action into real, transformative change.

A common thread throughout Larive’s career has been her commitment to student success, inclusion, and equity. She has led undergraduate research and curricular innovation programs and has extensively written on active and experiential learning and mentoring. She has personally mentored 30 doctoral and master’s students, and she has been active in encouraging the participation and success of women and other underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.

Upon her arrival in Santa Cruz in 2019, she immediately prioritized improving graduation rates and eliminating graduation gaps for low-income and first-generation students and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. She elevated the role of the campus chief diversity officer and restructured the Office of Student Affairs and Success to align with her goals.

Meet Chancellor Larive’s leadership team here.

The Student Body

Enrollment, 2022–2023

  • Undergraduates: 16,938
  • Graduate Students: 1,896
  • Total: 18,834


  • Undergraduate majors: 73
  • Graduate studies: 66 programs


Principles of Community

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is committed to promoting and protecting an environment that values and supports every person in an atmosphere of civility, honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and fairness.

UCSC expects that every campus member will embody the following Principles of Community.

  • Diverse:UCSC embraces diversity in all its forms and strives for an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened, and productive environment.
  • Open:UCSC believes the free exchange of ideas requires mutual respect and consideration for our differences.
  • Purposeful:UCSC is a participatory community united by shared commitments to service to society, preservation and advancement of knowledge, and innovative teaching and learning.
  • Caring: UCSC promotes mutual respect, trust, and support to foster bonds that strengthen the community.
  • Just:UCSC is committed to due process, respect for individual dignity, equitable access to resources, recognition, and rewards.
  • Disciplined:UCSC seeks to advance common goals through reasonable, realistic practices, procedures, and expectations.
  • Celebrating:UCSC celebrates the heritage, achievements, and diversity of the community and the uniqueness and contributions of its members.

Strategic Plan

UC Santa Cruz embarked on developing a new strategic plan—Leading the Change —during the 2022–23 academic year. Building on Envision, a 2013 campus strategic plan, and the 2017 Strategic Academic Plan, Leading the Change is a shared vision that aligns with the university’s overarching goals, including enhancing student success, expanding research impact, fostering inclusivity, and improving operational efficiency, sustainability, and resilience. The process was carried out under the guidance of a steering committee and through the efforts of subcommittees to explore five thematic areas, each with dedicated committees involving diverse stakeholders from the campus community:

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

The Benefits Office staff administers comprehensive university benefits programs and provides information and counseling on benefits programs for academic appointees, staff, and eligible dependents. Benefits available to eligible UC Santa Cruz employees include the following.

  • Medical, dental, vision, and supplemental health plans
  • Retirement benefits
  • Disability, life, and accidental death & dismemberment insurance
  • Tuition discounts
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Pet insurance
  • Family care resources
  • Legal insurance
  • Adoption assistance plan

For more information, click here.

The UC Office of Loan Programs also offers various mortgage assistance programs to eligible employees.

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

University of California Santa Cruz has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter that includes a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (visit for instructions).

Nominations for this position may be emailed to Dell Robison, athletics practice leader and senior consultant, at or Anne-Marie Kenney, senior consultant, at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

The anticipated hiring range is $165,000 to $200,000 annually.

COVID Vaccination Requirement

The University of California has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy covering all employees. To be compliant with the policy, covered employees must submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exception or deferral, eight (8) weeks from the date of hire.

Visit the UC Santa Cruz website at

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees.