VERMILLION, S.D. -- University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott announced today that David Herbster has been named the school’s 13th athletics director. A reception honoring Herbster will be held at noon Saturday in the DakotaDome ahead of the football program’s annual spring game to be played at 1 p.m.
“I want to thank President Abbott for having the confidence in me as well as sharing the same vision for Coyote Athletics as we strive to make the University of South Dakota championship contenders in Division I, not just on the playing fields but in the classrooms as well,” stated Herbster, who received a B.S. in marketing from Virginia Tech in 1991 where he was a member of the Hokies men’s basketball team, including serving as team captain in 1990-91. He also earned an M.S. in education (sports management) from Virginia Tech in 1994.
Herbster, who was USD’s interim A.D. since December 2012, has been with USD since 2007 as an associate athletics director after serving as assistant to the chancellor and athletic director at the University of Nebraska-Omaha from 2005-2007. He was also athletic director at Concordia University of St. Paul from 2001-2004. Additionally, Herbster spent three years (1998-2001) as the director of special events and promotions for Special Olympics Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Prior to that, he was the assistant director of athletics for marketing and development at Pittsburg State (Kan.), assistant director for marketing and promotions at North Dakota State and promotions coordinator at Virginia Tech.
“David is the best person to lead our athletics department as we set out to build better facilities and create better opportunities for our student-athletes,” Abbott said. “I, along with the entire university community, am very confident in his leadership abilities. He has a proven track record of making athletic programs successful at all levels of NCAA competition. The future for Coyote Athletics is very bright, and David has the work ethic and the vision to ensure that great things happen for the student-athletes, coaching staffs and everyone involved with Coyote Athletics.”
Herbster has been instrumental in overseeing the Coyotes’ transition to Division I. He helped secure bids into the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference, generated more than $4 million in revenue to see scholarship offerings raised from 103 student-athletes to 187, and has developed and implemented fundraising efforts for South Dakota’s $68 million athletic facility master plan. Herbster formed the Howling Pack, led negotiations that resulted in a partnership with Learfield Sports and headed the creation of GoYotes.com – the official website of USD athletics. He has accomplished all those things while serving as direct supervisor to many Coyote sports programs.
“USD and Coyote athletics is very personal to me,” said Herbster. “I have been here through the complete transition. We have built and accomplished some amazing things here on the field, in the classroom and in the community and seeing it built from the ground up is a special process. In college athletics, you don’t often get the chance to do that.
“We will continue to raise the bar here at the University of South Dakota. The key is to never be satisfied. We are going to set lofty goals and when we reach them, we are going to set them higher.”
As athletics director at UNO, Herbster was responsible for the administration of an NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey program and 14 additional Division II programs, 13 head coaches, 30 assistant coaches, 26 staff members and 360 student-athletes. During his tenure at Nebraska-Omaha, the Mavericks claimed three NCAA Division II National Championships (women’s soccer in 2005, wrestling in 2004-05 and 2005-06). Herbster has served on various NCAA committees and also has been active in community service. He and his wife, Kelly, have three daughters: Morgan, Kasey and Leah.
At USD, he will oversee 17 Division I programs that compete in the Summit League, with the exception of football, which has competed in the Missouri Valley Football Conference since 2012. Herbster will remain the driving force behind the USD Sports Performance Enhancement Facility Arena and Outdoor Track and Soccer Complex, and the USD Science, Health and Research Lab; two projects totaling more than $68 million that will transform the DakotaDome and surrounding area into a unique Division I athletic and academic complex.