Dr. Terry Wanless’ 11-year tenure as Sacramento State’s Director of Athletics has seen unparalleled growth in the school’s 22-year Division I history.
His vision of broad success in the department has
come to fruition over the last seven years where the Hornets have
earned 43 conference titles. That includes an unprecedented eight
conference titles during the 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2010-11 academic
years. In addition, the program won the Big Sky Conference’s
all-sports points championship in 2010-11 and finished second among
the 11 league institutions in 2012-13.
The longest tenured athletics director in school history, Wanless has seen Sacramento State rack up 54 conference championships during his 11 years.
Academically, Sacramento State athletics recently posted its highest graduation rates in the Div. I era. Additionally, four programs finished among the top 10 percent nationally in their sport in NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements in two of the last three years.
The 2008-09 West Region Athletic Director of the Year for the
Football Championship Subdivision, Wanless has overseen significant
facility enhancement to the athletic facilities. The most recent
change was the department’s move into the newly renovated
28,000 square-foot Athletics Center during the winter of 2011. The
building features two floors with a plethora of office space, study
areas for student-athletes, multiple conference rooms, a large
lobby on the bottom floor and the fastest wireless internet on
campus. During the spring of 2008, Wanless oversaw the opening of
the Broad Fieldhouse, which serves as the home to Hornet football
and track and field, as well as athletic training and strength and
conditioning. In addition, a new football field was installed by
Field Turf at Hornet Stadium in June of 2010.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Fieldhouse was the first step of an elaborate plan that began with the passing of a referendum by the Sacramento State student body. That vote also led to the creation of the 151,000 square-foot recreation and wellness center which benefits the entire student body and opened in September of 2010.
Wanless has served on numerous NCAA committees, and most recently completed a term as a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision selection committee and the Div. I Football Issues Committee. Previously, he was a member of the NCAA Football rules committee and the NCAA Peer Review committee.
Wanless has been a visible member of the Sacramento State athletics family, constantly representing the University and department at public outings and speaking engagements. His commitment to the student-athlete has also been clear as both he and his wife, Joanne, attend the majority of Hornet home athletic events and support several teams on the road.
His leadership and academic support have been evident to the student-athletes in other ways as well. The department’s Life Skills Program has seen rapid growth, significantly increasing the number of summer and fifth-year scholarships available to Hornet student-athletes. The Life Skills program also launched the program’s first computer lab and offers Hornet student-athletes tutoring as well as academic counseling.
Over the last 10 years, Sacramento State student-athletes have posted over 2,500 term GPAs of 3.0 or above. At the conclusion of the 2010 spring semester, Hornet student-athletes combined for an overall grade point average of 2.98, which was the highest mark since the program joined the Div. I ranks in 1991-92. That 2.98 gpa benchmark was reached again by Hornet student-athletes in the fall of 2011.
His efforts in restoring the department’s booster club (now called the Hornet Club) as well as aggressively improving the University’s collegiate licensing program, while not readily visible, are projects that have, and will continue to enhance the program’s financial footing in years to come. The Hornet Club is now the official fundraising arm of Sacramento State athletics.
Athletically, the Hornets have also seen continued growth and success on the field of play. During his 10 years at Sacramento State, 32 teams and 187 individuals have advanced to NCAA postseason competition.
Sacramento State had the highest finish among Big Sky schools in
the 2011 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup final standings,
placing 119th out of 345 institutions. During the 2007-08 academic
year, SI.com ranked Sacramento State as the 36th best athletics
Wanless’ efforts to put the Hornets on the map have been instrumental in Sacramento State hosting seven NCAA Championship events during his tenure. That includes four track and field championships, two rowing championships and one volleyball championship, as well as the 2004 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.
Prior to Sacramento State, Wanless served as athletics director at the University of North Dakota from 1990-1999, guiding the program to one of its most successful decades in school history. During that time, North Dakota enjoyed strong competitive success, winning four NCAA national championships and 36 conference titles. Additionally, 25 other teams finished second in their respective conferences.
Before his position at North Dakota, Wanless was director of intercollegiate athletics at Western Carolina and held a variety of positions, including director of intercollegiate athletics, at Towson University in Maryland.
Wanless earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Black Hills State, a master’s degree in physical education from Northern Illinois and a doctorate in athletics administration from Temple.
He and his wife, Joanne, are the parents of two children. Their daughter, Heather, and her husband, Chad Collins, reside in Lexington, Ky., with their daughters Hadley and Leah, and son Jack. Their son Troy, and his wife, Jesi, live in Minneapolis with their daughters Elli, Scarlett, and Juliette.