By Jon Brooks
The University of Nebraska at Omaha today named Adrian Dowell as its new vice chancellor for athletics.
Prior to coming to UNO, Dowell served as assistant vice president and associate athletic director at Creighton University (one of two positions held with Creighton University Athletics since joining the university in May 2014).
He replaces former UNO Vice Chancellor for Athletics Trev Alberts, who left the university to helm athletics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on July 14.
"We are really here to celebrate our student-athletes," Dowell told attendees at a news conference on the UNO campus. "I was really a fan of Trev and thought he did a great job championing the experience of student-athletes."
Dowell outlined two "missions" he has for UNO Athletics. The first is to "provide the best student-athlete experience possible" and the second is to "bring people to the table who have not otherwise interacted with UNO."
He understands there will be challenges ahead.
"We will be strategic," Dowell said. "We will own our mistakes — communicate them, fix them, and not make the same mistake twice."
Dowell was introduced to attendees by University of Nebraska President Ted Carter and UNO Chancellor Joanne Li. UNO Hockey's Nolan Sullivan was on hand to represent student-athletes.
Carter mentioned how difficult transitions can be in intercollegiate athletics. "As good as things are," said Carter, "there is so much more ahead of us."
Carter also referred to the announcement as "the worst kept secret in Omaha."
Li gave a shout out to the UNO Hockey team for their overtime victory over top-ranked St. Cloud State last weekend. She said the hiring of Dowell is an "exciting new chapter" for UNO.
Both discussed Dowell's skills in development at Creighton and during his previous tenure at West Virginia University.
Dowell is married to 2010 UNO Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee Stephanie (Kirby) Dowell (she played soccer at UNO from 2000 to 2003). The couple has three children: Lauren Grace, Adrian, and Paige.
"To the original Maverick," Dowell said, "She's a better athlete than I am; my wonderful wife, Stephanie."
Most recently, UNO's Senior Associate Athletic Director - Events/Facilities Mike Kemp held the interim athletic director position as the university searched for Alberts's successor.
As long-standing UNO Hockey fans know, Kemp served as the program's head coach from his initial hiring in 1996 until the hiring of Dean Blais in 2009. Kemp joined the athletic department administration after stepping down as head coach.
Dowell will be tasked with providing an overall vision for athletics, which includes fundraising and outreach efforts moving forward. Continued development of facilities, increasing overall ticket sales, and boosting individual/corporate donations will be on the menu for the new athletic director.
"Athletics is competitive," said Dowell. "We are competitors. To be successful in this industry, you have to figure out what makes you different relative to your peers."
Dowell acknowledged that Alberts had a successful tenure at UNO, but he sees opportunities ahead.
"There are over 400 Division 1 institutions," said Dowell. "Only two Division 1 schools are in Omaha. Only one wears its name on its chest. If we are able to reach that level of success we hope for, it will because of this city. I could not be more excited to join you. Go Mavericks."