The Position

Capital University (CU) is seeking a new director of athletics to lead a department of talented coaches and staff who are deeply committed to NCAA Division III athletics and the scholar-athlete model within the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC). The director will lead the administration of the intercollegiate athletic programs, club sports, and recreation, as well as provide oversight of administrative, compliance, recruiting, fundraising, operational, and business functions.

Capital University is a private, four-year undergraduate institution and graduate school with 3,000 students on two campuses (the Bexley campus, and the Law School in downtown Columbus) and 49,000 alumni around the world. With roots grounded firmly in a history of academic excellence, free inquiry, and individual development of every student, Capital combines personal attention with a balanced liberal arts and professional studies education. Since its founding by the Lutheran Church in 1830 and charter as a university in 1850, Capital has been an agent in shaping engaged citizens and purposeful leaders who improve their industries, communities, and society. Columbus, Ohio’s capital and most populated city, is rich in cultural diversity and the arts, the center of the state’s political activity, and home to several Fortune 500 companies. Columbus ranked fifth in the world for quality of life in 2020, according to It is the fastest-growing major metropolitan area in the Midwest and 14th largest city in the nation.


The director of athletics at Capital University oversees all aspects of Capital’s Division III athletic program and Capital Center administration, including development and oversight of budgets and facility operations. Reporting directly to the president, the director is responsible for promoting an engaging community that prioritizes fairness, inclusivity, and civility throughout all levels of the organization while fostering an environment of excellence and success. The candidate will be a visible role model for equity, diversity, inclusion, and integrity, actively building relationships within the Central Ohio community.


  • Responsible for the overall direction and coordination of the Athletic Department and Capital Center, including development and oversight of budgets and facility operations
  • Interprets and applies policies and procedures in accordance with the educational goals of the institution and compliance with the OAC, NCAA, and Title IX
  • Actively promotes an atmosphere of respect and sensitivity to the dignity of every individual
  • Hires, supervises, evaluates, and supports coaches, athletic trainers, and recreational/intramural and athletic staff
  • Serves as the champion and primary caretaker of the athletics program, working collaboratively with enrollment management, alumni relations, marketing, advancement, and student success offices to further departmental and programmatic goals, initiatives, fundraising, reputation, and competitive level
  • Prioritizes student-athlete success initiatives through engaged collaboration with academic schools and departments
  • Supports coaches in recruiting and retaining student-athletes
  • Coordinates and oversees game management, including securing capable officials and preparing for crowd control
  • Ensures ongoing assessment of programs, including self-studies, university program review, and regular assessment of student-athlete participation and satisfaction
  • Takes an active role in OAC, NCAA, local, and national affairs and maintains a current understanding of policies and guidelines


Dr. Steve Bruning, a respected professor and established leader and administrator at Capital University, successfully led Capital Athletics from 2012 to 2017, and again since January 2022.

Under Dr. Bruning’s leadership, Capital Athletics thrived in multiple areas – athletically and academically – regularly reaching the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament and winning championships in multiple sports, which led to several NCAA Tournament appearances. Capital launched two new varsity sports – men’s and women’s lacrosse – under his leadership, nine student-athletes earned All-America awards, and an additional eight were named Academic All-America. Capital also hosted the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Semifinals in March 2016.

Bruning will return to his role as the director of the Convergent Media Center after the national search for Capital’s next athletic director.


In transitioning to Capital University, the director of athletics will encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below, as shared by key community stakeholders.

  • Create a vision for a vibrant and cohesive departmental culture and brand that highlights shared Capital values, expectations, and accountability for a dynamic, equitable, and student-centered athletics department. There should be clear and measurable definitions of success that promote competitiveness, student leadership development, and institutional student success priorities.
  • Engage in comprehensive departmental program assessment and strategic planning around organizational structure, internal policies and procedures, program expansion, deferred maintenance and facilities master planning, growth and expansion of campus recreation and intramurals, and alumni engagement and fundraising efforts.
  • Champion and support the student-athlete experience with a compelling opportunity to create a platform that dynamically engages student-athletes and formally supports leadership development.
  • Develop strategic partnership with advancement and alumni relations leadership. Strengthen relationships with alumni student-athletes and parents to nurture and encourage their continued relationship with Capital.
  • Work collaboratively with admissions and financial aid and be seen as a strategic partner in developing a strategic athletic enrollment plan. Roster management, long-term recruitment projections and trend analysis, recruiting training and support for coaches reflective of institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion goals are desired outcomes.
  • Strengthen communication and collaboration between athletics and the larger institution—academic affairs, student success and engagement, facilities, etc., and the greater Bexley and Columbus community with a particular focus on increasing opportunities that further support the student-athlete experience.


The director of athletics at Capital University will be a strong partner and collaborator across the campuses. The new director will be a strategic thinker, will work with others to develop and implement a vision, and will aid in inspiring the campus community to come together to accomplish shared goals for the future.

Institutional stakeholders shared the following additional measures of success.

  • Continue to enhance and strengthen the opportunities found within athletics, club sports, and intramurals for all students, creating a campus-wide sense of school spirit and engagement.
  • Be visible and highly accessible advocate for the coaches, staff, and student-athlete experience.
  • Be a skilled communicator who does so with grace, empathy, and insight and is also open to feedback.
  • Establish strong working relationships and partnerships with coaches and athletic staff, student-athletes, residence life and student engagement colleagues, advancement, faculty, and key institutional stakeholders and demonstrate knowledge and appreciation for the various programs and services.
  • Lead in a credible, collegial, and highly effective way.
  • Manage the department’s short-term change and long-term development, including staffing, professional development, facilities management, and strategic capital planning.
  • Actively engage alumni and parents alongside advancement and campus leadership to support fundraising initiatives aligned with the university, departmental, and strategic plans.
  • Have the highest level of integrity.



A minimum of five years of progressive leadership experience in collegiate athletics administration or a closely related field and a bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree and collegiate coaching experience are strongly preferred. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration, student-athlete development, facilities management and resourcing, NCAA compliance within a Division III environment, and the role of fundraising in supporting strategic and operational objectives. A collaborative management approach, coupled with superior communication and relationship-building skills, strong planning and fiscal competencies, an understanding of the importance of enrollment at a small, private university, a familiarity with program development and assessment, demonstrated experience supporting recreational programs as part of overall student well-being, excellent problem-solving abilities, and a high degree of cultural competence demonstrating respect for diversity of identities and experiences will be important considerations in the selection of the next director of athletics.

Additionally, as articulated by Capital stakeholders, the successful candidate will ideally possess the following qualities and attributes.

  • Commitment to an intercollegiate athletics program that operates with the highest integrity and is focused on the holistic development of its student-athletes
  • Transformative energy that builds a dynamic and cohesive unit of staff, coaches, and student-athletes
  • Experience developing a department mission, vision, and culture that embraces a holistic and equitable understanding of program success and supports a competitive environment
  • Understand the value of continuing education, training, evaluation, and professional development for staff and coaches
  • Successful change management experience grounded in trust-building and clear communication
  • Ability to motivate and inspire others
  • Visibility and presence within the Capital community and the athletics department
  • Support and celebrate the diversity of the university community and the richness of the educational and co-curricular experience
  • Significant understanding of NCAA Division III athletics in program needs, compliance requirements, College rules and regulations, and Title IX regulations
  • Collaborative and adaptable mindset, equipped to respond to changing dynamics as circumstances dictate
  • Be an advocate of equitable student-athlete experiences, amplifying the voice of students, and empowering programs that support the holistic well-being of all students through recreation and fitness
  • Compelling passion for Capital and athletics that can translate into fundraising and “friend-raising”
  • Collaborative and focused capacity to build relationships and partnerships across campus with enrollment, advancement, student success and engagement, and academic affairs
  • Support for the institution’s academic mission and student-athletes, and an understanding of the intersection of athletics and academics
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and a strong stakeholder focus

Institution & Location


Transforming lives for a brighter world


Purposeful People
Courageous Community
Hopeful Humanity


• Free Inquiry

o Cultivating open dialogue and critical exploration

• Ethical Stewardship

o Acting in pursuit of human dignity and social justice

• Challenging Boundaries

o Using multiple perspectives to create new knowledge and solutions

• Authentic Contributions

o Developing and applying the innate gifts of each person for the good of society

• Open Community

o Celebrating an empowering, faith-friendly environment of inclusion and respect

• Embracing Hope

o Cultivating joy in our daily experience and optimism for a better future

Strategic Plan

As the campus prepares to embark on a strategic planning process, the following guiding statement and key initiatives will provide a framework for the University-wide process.

Immediate Key Initiatives 2021-2022

Everything we do supports student success and delivers a superior student experience through academic challenge, personal development, and social engagement.

1. Unite the collective energy and spirit of the University community through the collaborative development of a consolidated Strategic Plan.

2. Integrate accountability and support of recruitment, persistence, and student success to ensure a superior student experience from enrollment through graduation.

3. Transform our current business model and evaluate partnership opportunities to expand enrollment, promote student learning and success, and ensure all programs and services are sustainable.

4. Establish clear accountability, support, and timeframe to implement the approved diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.

5. Invest in student development, faculty instruction, and scholarship to foster a robust learning environment for all.

6. Define and promote Capital’s value proposition, including our Lutheran identity, through targeted messaging strategies that clarify our brand and extend our reach to new student populations.

7. Create a trusting, collaborative culture that appropriately supports, develops, recognizes, and compensates each individual contributor.

8. Strengthen relationships with corporations, alumni, and donors to increase annual fund­raising and successfully initiate a comprehensive capital campaign.

9. Prioritize and pursue short-term facility needs to support and advance the approved Master Plan.

Capital Athletics Mission Statement

Capital University develops citizens of the world, not just an athlete.

Capital University promotes individualism, leadership, and finding purpose in a student-athlete’s respective sport and life.

Capital University empowers through one-on-one attention and a lead-by-example approach by its entire staff.

Dedication is not just expected from its student-athletes but is given fully by our staff.

The relationships you build and your experience at Capital are ones that you create and ones that we want to help you remember for the rest of your life.

At Capital, you are more than a number; you are part of a support system across the entire university and beyond its gates, forever.

Capital Athletics Values

• Diversity Teamwork
• Leadership
• Accountability
• Community
• Integrity
• Academic success


The Capital Center

The Capital Center is home to the athletic training laboratory, athletic staff offices, conference rooms, and administrative work areas. Classrooms are also available for academic classes.

Opened in 2001, the Capital Center is a 126,000 square-foot recreational and athletic complex that includes a 2,100-seat performance arena, a 3,000-seat Bernlohr Stadium, a 51,000-square-foot multipurpose forum, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, and a multitude of offices, classrooms, and hospitality areas. The infield of the NCAA regulation indoor track has four courts with lines for basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Suspended from the ceiling are curtains that can split the area into a multitude of configurations for a variety of events, as well as a pair of hitting cages for baseball, softball, and golf. Part of the forum also makes up 1,200 square feet of the fitness center with a complete cardiovascular area filled with rowers, elliptical trainers, max trainers, and stationary bikes. The remaining 3,800 square feet of the fitness center is a room complete with weight training equipment from Hammer Strength and Dynamic.

• Football/Soccer/Lacrosse

o Bernlohr Stadium

• Basketball, Volleyball, Track

o The Capital Center
o Performance Arena
o Field House

• Baseball/Softball

o Clowson Field Complex

• Golf

o Heritage Golf Club
o Varsity C Indoor Golf Training Facility

Men’s Sports

• Baseball
• Basketball
• Cross Country
• Football
• Golf
• Lacrosse
• Soccer
• Tennis
• Track & Field

Women’s Sports

• Basketball
• Cross Country
• Golf
• Lacrosse
• Softball
• Soccer
• Tennis
• Track & Field
• Volleyball

The Student Body

• Total enrollment of 2,820 (fall 2021)
• Male 39.6%
• Female 60.4%
• The campus size is 48 acres
• Student-faculty ratio 12:1
• 4-year graduation rate 53%
• Classes with fewer than 20 students 61.6%
• Forty four percent of students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing

Ohio Athletic Conference

The Ohio Athletic Conference is the third oldest organization in the United States. Only two other leagues had the vision and foresight to be organized before the NCAA came into existence in 1906. The history of the OAC illustrates a successful search for the elusive principle of amateurism in intercollegiate athletics. Administratively, it is a record of more than 100 years of intelligent and democratic self-regulation.

It began in 1902 with a significant focus on the student-athlete’s well-being. More than a hundred years later, that focus has never wavered. And while maintaining the priority that “student” always comes before “athlete,” the OAC continues to display national success in the arenas and on the fields of endeavor.

Currently, the Conference consists of 10 members, including Baldwin-Wallace College, Capital University, Heidelberg University, John Carroll University, Marietta College, University of Mount Union, Muskingum University, Ohio Northern University, Otterbein University, and Wilmington College.

The enrollments at the ten OAC institutions range from 1,100 to 4,500. All schools were founded in the 19th century and have long and outstanding academic reputations. While maintaining these high academic standards, Ohio Athletic Conference athletic teams and athletes have consistently enjoyed great success on a regional and national level. The athletic competition is viewed not as an end but as an extension of the educational programs.

David L. Kaufman, President

A well-respected business leader in the Central Ohio region and beyond, Dave Kaufman began a new chapter in his life when he became interim president of Capital University on July 1, 2020. A year later, he was named the University’s 17th president.

With a background as an actuary and financial analyst, Kaufman started at Encova Mutual Insurance Group (formerly Motorists Insurance Group) in 1986, joining the executive leadership team in 2000, and retiring as CEO of all companies in December 2019. Kaufman earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and economics, graduating cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University. Locally, he has served as a board member of the Columbus Partnership, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Kaufman is the founder of Future Possibilities, a nonprofit organization that partners with Columbus City Schools, pairing children in underserved areas with volunteer Kid Coaches who empower the youth to make positive impacts in their lives and the world.

An active member of the Lutheran Church, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and is a member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.


Academic Programs

Capital University delivers undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, humanities, and professions. Capital also offer graduate degrees in law, nursing, business, and music education for those driven to do more, with 60 majors, 51 minors, four undergraduate degrees, and ten graduate degrees in the following areas.

• Music, Arts, and Communication
• Business and Management
• Education
• Humanities
• Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Science
• Nursing and Health
• Law
• Social Sciences
• Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University

Thousands of lives have been transformed by what happens in our classrooms, where learning is an active process. Students and professors are highly engaged in the exchange, using teaching and learning practices proven to have the highest impact on learning.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Capital University embodies the following institutional values.

• Cultivate open dialogue and critical exploration
• Act in pursuit of human dignity and social justice
• Use multiple perspectives to create new knowledge and solutions
• Develop and apply the innate gifts of each person for the good of society
• Celebrate an empowering, faith-friendly environment of inclusion and respect
• Nurture joy in our daily experience and optimism for a better future

Capital’s DEI work addresses both systemic and interpersonal acts of implicit and explicit bias and discrimination. Learn more about Capital’s commitment to creating an environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Like many church-affiliated institutions, the relationship with the church has evolved. Today, Capital is an independent school that chooses to remain affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and as one of the 27 member schools of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU). Along with these schools, Capital “share a common calling that is deeply rooted in the Lutheran intellectual tradition and boldly open to insights from other religious and secular traditions.” This comes from a document called Rooted and Open.

Benefits Overview


Capital University offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes a variety of options to meet the unique needs of employees.

• Medical Benefits
• PlanSource Login and Enrollment Information
• Dental Insurance
• Vision Insurance
• Life and AD&D Insurance
• Long-Term Care Insurance
• Disability Insurance
• Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
• Retirement Plans
• Flexible Spending Plans
• Tuition Benefits
• Time Off and Leave
• Parental Leave
• Workers’ Compensation
• Employee Perks

For a detailed look at Capital University benefits, visit the website at

Application & Nomination


Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to Dell Robinson at or Anne-Marie Kenney at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Capital University website at

Capital University requires all employees in all positions to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before the first day of employment. Before your first day, you will be required to provide proof of having the complete COVID-19 vaccination OR file and be granted approval for a valid religious or medical exemption. If you have any concerns regarding compliance with this requirement, you will need to discuss your concerns with Capital University’s HR Department. Capital University does not require applicants to discuss vaccination status before receiving an offer of employment and complies with all applicable laws requiring reasonable accommodation.

Capital University is committed to increasing the diversity of the Capital community and curriculum. This commitment includes Capital’s dedication to developing faculty and staff committed to inclusive practices in teaching, learning, working, and campus and community interactions. Candidates who can contribute to that goal are particularly encouraged to apply.

Spelman Johnson has prepared this document based on personal interviews and information copied, compiled, or quoted in part from source documents obtained from our client, and as such, the contents of this document are believed to be reliable. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern, and the limited material presented here should be relied upon for informational purposes only.