Dr. Derrick Gragg has been selected as The University of Tulsa’s vice president and director of athletics, TU President Steadman Upham announced today.
The Golden Hurricane have been without a full-time Athletic Director since they suspended former A.D. Ross Parmley in November of 2012 (http://www.ktul.com/story/20199435/tu-athletic-director-parmley-on-administrative-leave). Parmley was implicated in, and later admitted to involvement with a sports gambling ring headquartered in Oklahoma City.
Gragg has spent the past seven years as the Director of Athletics at Eastern Michigan University, where he has been responsible for an intercollegiate athletic program with 21 teams, 550 student-athletes and 80 staff members. Gragg has spent the past 20 years in progressively advanced roles at the universities of Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Gragg will be introduced to the Tulsa community during a news conference at 2 p.m. Friday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center President’s Suite.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Derrick Gragg will be joining TU as our new director of athletics. Our search committee was presented with an impressive field of applicants for this position, and Derrick stood out as an exceptional candidate,” Upham said. “TU has seen several key changes in the past year, and a handful of questions remain with regard to NCAA compliance and conference realignment. We feel that Derrick’s history of integrity and excellence is well-suited to manage those issues and keep our university and its athletic program moving forward. He will be an enthusiastic and dedicated leader for Golden Hurricane student-athletes and their coaches.”
"I am very excited to accept the position of director of athletics at TU. It is a wonderful opportunity to lead a program of this caliber," Gragg said. "The university's combination of academic and athletic success dovetails perfectly with my own personal and professional core values. My family and I are eager to become an integral part the Tulsa community and the TU family.”
Under Dr. Gragg’s leadership, Eastern Michigan has enjoyed successful campaigns not only on the field, but also in the classroom. EMU athletic teams have accumulated 22 Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships in that time. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) reached 969, while the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was at 74 percent, far exceeding the four-year student body rate.
Eastern Michigan has seen its athletic fundraising levels reach new heights with four of the top five funding years occurring under Gragg’s tenure as athletic director. He has been responsible for oversight of all facets of athletics, including athletics development, financial affairs and budgeting and compliance. As EMU athletic director, he hired 10 head coaches. In 2009-10, he spearheaded the construction of EMU’s $3.9 million multipurpose indoor athletic practice facility. He also has been nationally recognized for his leadership, earning the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) Administrator of the Year Award in 2008-09.
During his career, Gragg has published several articles and editorials on intercollegiate athletics as well as a nationwide study on sports-related gambling. He has been a presenter and panelist at events such as the NCAA Presidential Summit, Future Coaches Academy, Champions for Athletic Directors and Football Coaches, and the NCAA Annual Convention. Gragg also authorized two Title IX studies while demonstrating continual improvement in Title IX compliance and gender equity issues.
He is a former member of the NCAA’s Minority Opportunities & Interests Committee, having served as co-chair of the committee in 2004-05. Gragg also served as a member of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas Board of Directors and as a member of the American Heart Association, Northwest Arkansas Board of Directors. He currently serves as a member of the NCAA’s Legislative Council and is a member of the NACDA Division I-A Athletic Directors Scholarship Ad Hoc Steering Committee.
A former collegiate wide receiver, Gragg lettered four years at Vanderbilt while earning his bachelor’s degree in human development in 1992. He earned his master’s degree in sports administration from Wayne State University in 1999 and has since served as an adjunct faculty instructor at both Wayne State and Eastern Michigan. Gragg earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas in May of 2004 and also taught two undergraduate courses during his tenure there as an athletic administrator.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Gragg was inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County (Ala.) Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. He is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA).
Gragg, 43 (11-16-69), and his wife, Sanya, have a daughter, DeSha, 19, and two sons, Avery, 16, and Phillip-Raymond, 12.