Oklahoma City University's Jim Abbott took Sooner Athletic Conference athletic director of the year for the second consecutive year after the Stars captured their first Directors' Cup trophy. The SAC will nominate Abbott for NAIA national athletic director of the year to be announced at a later date.
Abbott oversees Oklahoma City's 21 intercollegiate athletic programs including more than 300 student-athletes. In 2016-17, the Stars won conference championships in baseball, women's basketball, women's cross country, men's golf, women's golf, softball and volleyball, sweeping both the regular-season and tournament titles in baseball, women's basketball, softball and volleyball. OCU nabbed four NAIA championships in competitive cheerleading, women's basketball, women's golf and softball, leading to OCU's first Director's Cup title as the top athletic department in the NAIA. The Stars also achieved in the classroom with a 3.070 combined grade-point average in 2016-17.
"This recognition for Jim caps what was an incredible and award-worthy year for him and the OCU athletics department," SAC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. "Not only was Jim's impact evident in the competitive success across OCU's athletic programs, but his contributions reached well beyond the OCU campus to make an impact on both the SAC and NAIA scenes."
OCU has won 66 national championships in all sports – 44 in Abbott's 15 years at the helm.
"I admit to just a bit of bias, but I think Oklahoma City University, under the leadership of Jim Abbott, has the finest athletic program in the nation," Oklahoma City President Robert Henry said. "Winning the Directors' Cup tells part of the story, but Jim's selection for the second year in a row as the Sooner Athletic Conference athletic director of the year underscores the message. Jim's consistent leadership and advocacy for academic excellence, along with athletic prowess, speaks volumes. I join all of Oklahoma City in congratulating him."
In addition to serving as athletic director, Abbott is active as a member of the NACDA Executive Council, NAIA Membership Committee, Jim Thorpe Association Executive Council, vice chairman of the NAIA Hall of Fame selection committee, the Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium, NAIA Athletic Director's Association Board of Directors and serves as staff sponsor for the OCU Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle.
Abbott has previously served as president of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association and as a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council. Abbott has been a panelist and presenter at numerous NAIA and NACDA conventions.
Abbott has worked in athletic and higher education administration for more than 25 years, including a previous stint at OCU as assistant athletic director from 1991-94. Abbott earned a master's of science degree in sports administration from the University of Oklahoma and bachelor's degrees in business administration and physical education from Huntingdon (Ala.) College.
Abbott and his wife Annetta have two children (Kyle, 22, and Katelyn, 17).