On July 18, Park University announced they would be opening at campus in Gilbert, Ariz., which will open in October.
A different component to this campus compared to the other location of Park was this location would have an athletic program, starting in 2019.
That meant the Parkville-based university needed to find an athletic director and then coaches for its 12 sports.
The search for that person that will guide Park Buccaneers was a familiar name – Park’s Steve Wilson, who was named the AD on July 25.
The Platte City resident has worked at Park since 2007, starting as the school’s sports information director. After six years, he was promoted to assistant director of athletics for sports communications and added the duty of women’s golf coach. In February of 2017, he became the associate director of media relations and compliance and gave up his golf coaching duties.
Now, he will take on the role as the Park University-Gilbert athletic director and will also coach the men’s and women’s golf programs.
His wife, Juli, will also work at the new Park campus. The couple will move out of town the second weekend in August.
“I would say being AD (athletic director) was a goal, I would say, halfway through my 11 years here in Parkville,” said Wilson, who is a native of Salina, Kan. “They are showing a lot of faith in me to go down there and get it started and do it right.”
His job requirements include hiring coaches for baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s volleyball.
On top of that, he will have to places for those teams to practice and play as the new campus will not have those facilities available.
The Kansas State graduate worked at Kansas Wesleyn as a graduation assistant and then as a media assistant Texas State and the NAIA national office in Kansas City before moving to Park. He noted the women’s volleyball team’s undefeated run in the 2014 season as his highlight working in the media relation office – that came a year after earning the NAIA’s Clarence Pearson Award, given to a NAIA member for outstanding contributions to the profession.
“Being with that team was essentially indestructible, no team was going to touch them,” he said of the Pirates’ 40-0 campaign.
An avid golfer as well, Wilson has won the past two club championship at Shiloh Springs Golf Course in Platte City, though that run will end at two as commitments to his new job will make it impossible to come back for a three-peat chance.