Longtime Augustana Athletic Director Bill Gross Steps Down
After 28 years at the helm of the Augustana athletic department, Director of Athletics Bill Gross is stepping down and will take a position in Augustana’s Advancement Office as a Senior Major Gifts Officer.
Gross made the announcement at a news conference earlier today alongside Augustana College President Rob Oliver.
A national search for a replacement will begin immediately.
"This is a day to celebrate the long and productive career of Bill Gross as Director of Athletics for Augustana College,” Oliver said. “Augustana has benefited by his leadership in both program and facility development, leading to outstanding achievement by our student-athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators. Bill has also been instrumental in Augustana’s culture of assuring that our student-athletes maintain a proper balance between academics and athletics. Our supporters know that Bill has demonstrated leadership, integrity, energy, and a bit of good humor as he has built Augustana Athletics into what it is today. We have much to be proud of in the performance of our programs, and we have Bill Gross to thank for that.”
Gross, a 1973 graduate of Augustana, has spent 35 years as a member of the athletic staff and has played a role in all aspects of the department, student-athlete, coach and administrator. He played basketball at Augustana from 1969-1973 and was an All-NCC Selection three times and still remains in the top 10 of numerous statistical categories.
“I want to thank the leadership at Augustana for providing me the opportunity to be the Director of Athletics for all these years,” Gross said. “I also want to thank our student-athletes, staff, donors and fans for their loyalty and support. It has truly been a rewarding experience to work as a member of the Augustana family. I look forward to the challenge ahead as I join the Advancement team at the College.”
Gross spent nine seasons as the head coach of the Augustana men’s basketball team where he posted a 154-103 record, including eight winning seasons. His 1988-89 team won the NCC Championship and compiled an overall record of 23-7 (a school record at the time).
Augustana has won 40 conference championships while Gross has been the director of athletics, including 17 North Central Conference titles and 23 as members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
During Gross’ tenure, Augustana has flourished both athletically and academically gaining national recognition under his guidance. The Vikings began competing in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 2008 and has placed second or better in the NSIC All-Sports Award for five straight years, including first in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Augustana has finished 11th or better in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings since 2009-10, including third in 2010-11, fourth in 2011-12 and sixth in 2012-13. The Learfield Cup Standings honor institutions that maintain broad-based academic and athletic success in numerous men’s and women’s sports.
Under his leadership, Augustana now plays the majority of its home contests on campus. He has been directly involved in fundraising efforts and planning of the Elmen Center (1989) and its addition in 2002; Bowden Field for softball (1991); Ronken Field in (1993); Hall Football Complex and Sanford Gymnasium (2006); Kirkeby-Over Stadium (2009); Morstad Field (2009); and the Huether Tennis Centre (2009). In 2012, Gross helped the $1 million renovations at Karras Park, Home of Ronken Field. Since 2006, Gross has been instrumental in cultivating donors to raise more than $16 million in support of new and renovated athletic facilities on campus.
In terms of annual fundraising, Gross has played a significant role in the growth of the 800-member Augustana Athletic Club. He has been directly involved in its formation and increased support generated by the All-American Team, Augustana’s corporate sponsorship program. The organization has grown to 55 members, who provide more than $600,000 in annual support for Augustana athletics. Under Gross’ leadership, yearly athletic fundraising has grown from $974,000 in 2005-06 to more than $2 million in 2013-14.
Most recently, Augustana has entered into a new Internet and cable television partnership with Midcontinent Communications to upgrade the men’s and women’s basketball webcasts from the Elmen Center. The agreement also provides the airing of all men’s and women’s games on a tape-delayed basis on Midco Sports Network.
A native of Hayfield, Minn., Gross graduated from Augustana in 1973 before teaching and coaching at the high school level in Mitchell, S.D. and Marshall, Minn., before returning to Augustana in 1979. He earned his master’s degree in physical education from the University of South Dakota in 1979.
Gross and his wife, Sheree, are the parents of three children, Jennie, Chris, and Sara.