News from the Aurora University community

Aurora University announces Pepperdine’s James Hamad as new Athletic Director

Posted by on January 10, 2013

AU Athletic Director Jim Hamad

AU Athletic Director Jim Hamad

AURORA, Ill. – Aurora University today announced that James Hamad, currently Associate Director of Athletics for Student Development at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., has been named its new Athletic Director. Hamad will join the university in late February.

Hamad has held a number of leadership positions in Division I collegiate athletics over the past decade, including roles at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Akron, directing initiatives that improve student performance in the classroom and on the playing field. At Pepperdine, he revamped the academic support system for the athletics program, which has led to the highest graduation success rate among southern California Division I institutions, and has been part of an athletics administration that won 17 conference championships.

Hamad has been involved with the National Football League–N4A Advisory Committee, which creates degree-completion opportunities for collegiate non-graduates who have pursued a professional sports career. He also serves on the N4A Finance Committee, which directs the resources of the association.

“I embrace this opportunity to work at an outstanding academic institution with a strong foundation of athletes, coaches and administrators,” Hamad said. “Athletics is an integral part of the community at Aurora University, and I commend the outstanding work of my predecessors. I look forward to starting the next chapter of Spartan athletics.”

Aurora University Provost Andrew Manion said, “I am very excited to have Jim join us. He impressed everyone here with his combination of professional background and NCAA experience, expertise and enthusiasm. I believe he is the ideal person to take over as the director of Aurora University athletics. I’m delighted that he has agreed to come here from Pepperdine.”

Hamad received a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s degree from the University of Akron.

Hamad succeeds Mark Walsh, who retired this summer and was granted the status of Athletic Director Emeritus. Shaun Neitzel, who has served as Interim Athletic Director since last August, has been named Dean of Student Life for the university. In this new role, Neitzel will oversee student life, student organizations and residence life. Additionally, Lane Stahl, currently Assistant Baseball Coach, will be promoted to Head Baseball Coach for the university.

“I am pleased that Coach Stahl has agreed to take the reins of the program so that we have coaching continuity and can build on the tradition of success that Spartan Baseball has enjoyed,” Manion said.  “I also am grateful to Coach Neitzel for his outstanding performance as coach and look forward to the positive influence he will have on all of our students in his new role.”

Interview Availability

To schedule an interview with James Hamad, please contact Steve McFarland, Vice President for University Communications, at 630.844.5496 or

About Aurora University
Aurora University is an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning, annually educating more than 4,300 degree-seeking students at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. More than 600 students annually participate in the university’s 20 NCAA Division III athletics programs.  In addition to its main campus in Aurora, Ill., AU offers programs online, at its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wis., and the Woodstock Center in downtown Woodstock, Ill. Learn more at

Media Contact

Deborah Maue
University Communications