VERMILLION, S.D. -- University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott introduced David Sayler as the school’s 12th athletic director at a press conference Thursday afternoon in the Muenster University Center. Sayler joins the Coyotes after spending the last four years as Senior Executive Athletic Director at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
“We are pleased David Sayler has accepted the position as Athletics Director at USD,” stated James W. Abbott, president of The University of South Dakota. “David has served in leadership roles at several highly successful Division I athletic programs throughout the country. He is an ideal fit for Coyote Athletics as USD continues its transition to Division I.”
Sayler shares Abbott’s enthusiasm in coming to Vermillion and will assume the position on Aug. 2.
“The entire Sayler family is excited to join the Vermillion community and The University of South Dakota family,” Sayler said. “The vision that President Abbott has shared with me regarding the future at USD is what really attracted me to the position. I look forward to utilizing all my abilities and resources to ensure his vision can be accomplished in the most effective and efficient manner possible. It is a great time to be a Coyote and I look forward to building on the solid foundation built by Joel Nielsen and the University Administration. This is a great fit for me both personally and professionally, and I am eager to get started.”
During his four years with the Owls, Sayler has gained extensive experience. He oversaw the administration of the entire department while serving as Interim Athletic Director from October 2009 to March 2010. In his role as Senior Executive Athletic Director, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department, directly overseeing all internal operations, as well as providing administrative oversight for all 16 of Rice’s sports. He also worked on the development of a Strategic Plan for Rice Athletics and served as administrator of that plan.
Sayler was also crucial in several construction projects on campus. He oversaw the funding model, planning and building of the $26 million renovation of Autry Court as well as the $41 million construction of a recreation center. During his time at Rice, Sayler supervised the installation of Fieldturf ($1 million) at Rice Stadium, the replacement of Cameron Field ($1.2 million) at Reckling Park and the installation of a new scoreboard ($500,000) at Reckling Park. He has served as tournament director for several events, including regional championships in basketball and baseball.
Accomplishments on the field during the past three years for the Owls include the football team making two bowl games, the baseball team making consecutive trips to the College World Series, the women’s volleyball team making the NCAA tournament and the women’s track and cross country team winning Conference USA Championships. Rice Athletics had a balanced budget for fiscal years 2007 and 2008, which were the first times that ever occurred under the board-approved budget funding model for athletics.
David and his wife, Katie, have two sons, Connor, 3, and Liam, 6 months. A photograph of David is available at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/David_Sayler.jpg.