Bob Roller named Director of Athletics at Campbell University

July 20, 2011 | 1 Comment

Bob Roller named Director of Athletics at Campbell University

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Bob Roller was named Director of Athletics at Campbell University on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 during a press conference at the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.

University President Dr. Jerry Wallace and Vice President for Student Life Dr. Dennis Bazemore introduced Roller, who brings three decades of experience in Division I athletics to his position.

"I am thrilled to be given this opportunity to lead Campbell's athletics department,” said Roller.  “I'd like to thank Dr. Wallace, the Board of Trustees and Dr. Bazemore for this tremendous honor.  Their vision to see Campbell athletics strive to win Big South Conference championships left a great impression.  We will work as an entire department to equip and develop these student-athletes to be graduates and leaders."

Roller joins the Fighting Camel staff after spending more than 11 years as Director of Athletics at Samford University.  While at the Birmingham, Ala., school, he oversaw one of the most exciting periods of growth in the history of Samford ­athletics.

“I am delighted Bob Roller is coming to Campbell,” said Dr. Wallace.  “His proven record in athletics administration and fund raising at Samford University will inspire and lead Campbell to achieve a winning record throughout our athletics program and continue the enhancement of our athletics facilities.”

In his 11 years at the helm of the Samford athletics department, Roller led a major facilities upgrade while overseeing the department's move to the Southern Conference, one of the nation's oldest collegiate leagues. Samford’s student-athletes also turned in outstanding performances both onthe field and in the classroom during Roller’s tenure.

"To bring Bob Roller to Campbell as the new Director of Athletics is exciting to me," said Dr. Bazemore.  "He brings great leadership to this position and I believe he will lead Campbell athletics to a highly competitive level as we move to the Big South Conference.  I look forward to working with him for many years to come."

For all of his accomplishments, Roller was named the 2009-10 Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Southeast Region Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

In the 2009-10 school year, Samford won the SoCon’s Germann Cup, which goes to the top women’s sports program in the league.  In that same year, Samford had 11 teams record perfect single-year scores of 1,000 in the NCAA’s APR report. Five of Samford’s teams earned Public Recognition Awards, which go to teams posting multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sport nationally.

Roller has also mentored two current Division I athletics directors. Janet Cone, now the athletics director at UNC Asheville and Alan Verlander, who now oversees the Jacksonville athletics department, served as associate athletic directors under Roller at Samford.

Numerous athletics facility upgrades were accomplished during Roller's tenure at Samford.  The most recent upgrade came with the opening the Cooney Family Field House prior to the start of practice for the 2009 football season. The new field house includes offices for the football coaches, a weight room, locker room, training room, player's lounge and meeting rooms.

The largest project among the many upgrades was the Pete Hanna Center, which opened in October of 2007.  The Hanna Center is the largest building on Samford's campus and holds 6,000 spectators for graduation or concerts, and 5,000 for sporting events. The home of Bulldog basketball and volleyball, the Hanna Center features a state-of-the-art fitness center for all Samford students, plus offices for the athletics department, aca­demic center, weight room and training rooms.

Another addition to the Samford athletics facility plan was unveiled in the spring of 2007 with the opening of the Pat M. Courington Tennis Pavilion, which houses the Samford tennis offices and locker rooms, plus three indoor and six outdoor NCAA courts.

Early in Roller's tenure, Samford constructed Joe Lee Griffin Field for baseball in 1999. The 2004 season saw upgrades to the softball complex and a complete renovation of the soccer field with permanent seating for record crowds. Seibert Stadium's natural grass was replaced with a state-of-the-art LSR Blade Synthetic Surface in 2005 for football.

Prior to its move to the SoCon, Samford spent five years in the Ohio Valley Conference. In its time in the league, Samford won 13 team championships, and Samford women's teams claimed the Women's All-Sports Trophy three times (2003-04, 2006-07 and 2007-08). Samford won championships in women's soccer (four), women's tennis (four), women's cross-­country (two), baseball, men's golf and men's tennis.

Roller arrived at Samford in 1997 to direct the Samford Athletic Foundation. During his first two years, the foundation saw record growth in individual and corporate donations to the university's athletics programs. Roller held that position until May 1999, when then-President Thomas E. Corts named him to the top position within the athletics department.

In the summer of 2003, Roller was ­elected to the prestigious executive committee of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics [NACDA] to serve a four-year term. He joined athletics directors from Kansas State, Stanford, Army and Clemson on the governing committee that oversees the activities of the 6,000-plus member organization.

In 2006, Roller was named national chairman of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Committee for NACDA. The Directors' Cup is awarded to the top uni­versities in NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA for overall athletics success throughout the inter­collegiate season.

Prior to his tenure at Samford, Roller was vice president of AdCraft Sports Marketing in Louisville, Ky., for seven years. During that time, he helped create the Sears Collegiate Champions program, which honors all champions of men's and women's sports throughout the nation at every level of college athletics.

While with AdCraft, a division of Host Communications, Inc., Roller created and managed a publishing division and helped launch NCAA Football USA, which involved promotion, licensing and merchandising for college football programs at all levels of intercollegiate athletics.

Roller was director of communications for the Orange Bowl Committee in Miami, Fla., from 1988 to 1991. He was with the Orange Bowl when Federal Express became its first title sponsor in 1989.

The Pearisburg, Va., native began his career in sports information. He earned his degree from Virginia Tech in 1983 and worked as a student assistant in the sports information office for four years. He was the sports information director at UNC Wilmington and East Carolina University from 1983 to 1988. While at UNC Wilmington, Roller, 50, was also executive director of the university's athletics fund-raising program.

Roller holds a master's degree in edu­cation administration from Samford. He has one son, Brad, 26, a 2008 Samford graduate.

Roller assumes leadership of a Fighting Camel program that has enjoyed tremendous growth and success in recent years.  In 2008, Campbell returned to competition in varsity football and has quickly become competitive in the Pioneer Football League.  In each of the past two years, the Camels have led the PFL and ranked among the nation’s top 16 teams in rushing offense.

The John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center and Gilbert Craig Gore Arena also opened during the 2008-09 academic year and saw Campbell win its first men’s basketball conference regular season title in 2010 as well as attract record crowds to the facility for both its men’s and women’s programs.

During 2010-11, Campbell student-athletes were honored 189 times on all-academic teams by the Atlantic Sun Conference (139), Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (13) and Pioneer Football League (37).

Campbell also re-joined the Big South Conference (of which it was a charter member from 1983-94) on July 1 after a 17-year stint in the Atlantic Sun Conference.


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