Augustana Names Bill Gross Interim Director of Athletics

Bill Gross

Augustana University today announced that Bill Gross has been named interim director of athletics. Gross succeeds Slade Larscheid, who announced his decision to step down from the role last week in order to spend more time with his family.

For those who follow the Augustana Vikings, Gross’ name is a familiar one. 

A stand-out basketball player at Augustana from 1969-1973, Gross went on to serve as Augie’s head men’s basketball coach for nine seasons before being named Augustana’s director of athletics in 1986.

He went on to serve as director of athletics for the next 28 years, transforming Augustana’s athletic operations; ushering in national championships, as well as 40 conference championships; leading significant fundraising endeavors; and developing some of the University’s most significant facility projects, including the Elmen Center (1989) and its addition in 2002, Bowden Field for softball (1991), Ronken Field for baseball (1993), Hall Football Complex and Sanford Gymnasium (2006), Kirkeby-Over Stadium for football (2009), Morstad Field for soccer (2009), and the Huether Tennis Centre (2009).

From 2006 to 2014, Gross helped raise more than $16 million in support of new and renovated athletic facilities on campus.

In addition to success in competition, Gross’ tenure also saw Augustana gain national recognition for the academic success of its student-athletes, including consecutive All-Sports Awards and top rankings among the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings.

In 2014, Gross announced his decision to step down as director of athletics in order to take on a new role as Augustana’s senior major gifts officer.

Augustana President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said Gross’ past experience makes him well-suited to serve in this interim role.

“Bill’s experience as a student-athlete and coach, his long tenure as director of athletics and his continued work to advance athletics at the University will ensure that our athletic operations continue to run smoothly throughout this period of transition,” Herseth Sandlin said. “Bill and I have also worked closely together over the last number of months developing plans for the Larson Track & Field Complex, so I’m especially appreciative of Bill’s willingness to step back into this role on an interim basis. It is evidence of his deep love and respect for Augustana and the people who serve here.”

In announcing Gross as the interim director, Herseth Sandlin also praised AU’s team of athletic administrators and coaches.

“I’m also grateful for the support and insights of our talented and experienced athletic administrators and coaches, all of whom I know will work so well alongside Bill throughout the coming weeks to maintain the level of excellence our student-athletes and fans expect and deserve from us.”

Gross will assume the interim role immediately. Details on the committee that will lead a national search for the University’s permanent director of athletics, as well as a search timeline, will be forthcoming.