Engaging in UTEP sports is the 'difference maker', new athletic director says

New athletic Director Jim Senter

The University of Texas at El Paso will introduce its new athletic director at a press conference on Monday.

Jim Senter is replacing Bob Stull, who held the position for almost 20 years before announcing his retirement last August.

All eyes are on Senter to revamp the football program; one of his most anticipated moves will be hiring a new football coach.

Several El Pasoans told KFOX14 that UTEP'S last season might be a reason why fans aren't in the stands on game day. Adam Dominguez, of West El Paso, said the director will need to "make it kind of cool to like El Paso sports again."

This last season, UTEP went without winning a single game all season for the first time since 1973. The team lost 12 games, the most by any UTEP team in the school's history.

The new director says he will "work tirelessly to engage the community" in El Paso. He says that will make a difference in the program.

UTEP says Senter's accomplishments at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, include growing football attendance by more than 3,000 fans per game, increasing scholarships by nearly $6 million, and having 174 student athletes on honor roll for the academic year.

The school says they're "excited about UTEP Athletics' future" under their new director.

Senter has served as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, since 2014. The Bulldogs field 16 NCAA Division I sports (nine men’s, seven women’s). Since taking the reins of The Citadel program, Senter has hired head coaches in football, men’s basketball, baseball, soccer and volleyball.

Over 45 percent of the school’s athletic budget is self-generated revenue, the highest figure in the Southern Conference. Senter’s fundraising efforts have resulted in significant improvements being made to the football, basketball and baseball facilities. He has grown scholarship endowment by nearly $6 million in cash and pledges over the last three years. His total fundraising numbers over the last two years both set school records.

Senter grew football attendance by more than 3,000 spectators per game, and the Bulldogs led the Southern Conference in attendance. They posted a 10-win season in 2016 and a nine-victory campaign in 2015.

Academically, 174 Bulldog student-athletes garnered placement on the Southern Conference Honor Roll last year. In 2015-16, The Citadel produced two CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-Americans.

Senter came to The Citadel after spending seven years (2006-13) at the University of Colorado, where he worked his way up to Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations. Senter was the sport supervisor for the Colorado football, skiing, men’s and women’s golf programs. He also had supervision over the Chief Marketing Officer and numerous other areas including facilities, sports medicine, sports performance, game and event management and equipment services.

He began his tenure at Colorado as Associate AD for Development. In that role, his responsibilities included all fundraising efforts, including the annual fund (student-athlete scholarships), major gifts and coordinating all donation-related activities and staff. He was later elevated to Associate Athletic Director.

Before Colorado, Senter served as Associate Athletic Director for Development/Senior Associate AD for External Sales at San Diego State for 18 months. Aligned closely with the University foundation, he was responsible for overseeing the athletic department’s development efforts, including major gifts.

He spent 2003-05 as Director of Athletics at Idaho State University, a 16-sport Division I-AA program. He engineered a 19 percent increase in football attendance and a $600,000 leap in advertising, marketing and corporate sales.

Senter began his college athletic career at the University of Idaho. After working as assistant head football coach and recruiting coordinator, he branched out into the administrative side. He served as Assistant and Associate Athletic Director of Development from 1998-2003 in a chief fundraising capacity. He was responsible for the university’s Capital Campaign for Athletics, helping raise money for a $13 million athletic facility expansion. He also ran the annual fund for Vandal athletics, overseeing the work of 48 national directors and planning the fiscal budget.

During his coaching days, Senter was in charge of the defensive line, linebackers and secondary. He was a part of Idaho’s run to a 52-21 record over seven seasons and six NCAA playoff appearances.

Senter began his coaching career at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, where he was a student assistant in 1981 and 1982. He later held that role at his alma mater, the University of Tulsa, from 1983-85 before moving on to Idaho.

Senter earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Tulsa in 1985, and added a master’s degree in recreation from Idaho in 1992 while serving on the football coaching staff.

He was born Nov. 9, 1961 in Doylestown, Pa., and graduated from Jay (Okla.) High School where he was a football letterwinner. He is married to the former Susan Beck and the couple has four children -- Shawna, Derick, Matthew and Samantha.

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