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Arizona names CMU’s Dave Heeke new athletic director

Central Michigan's Athletic Director Dave Heeke celebrates the 30-27 win over Oklahoma State with Central Michigan head coach Joe Bonamego following an NCAA college football gam in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

The Arizona Wildcats lost their athletic director to Alabama in January, and have been on the look for a replacement since. On Saturday, the school announced the search is over.

The Wildcats named Dave Heeke their new athletic director.

Heeke had been the athletic director at Central Michigan since 2006 before taking the same job with Arizona.

“I am pleased and excited that Dave has accepted the position,” University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart said. “I was impressed by his sustained level of accomplishment in promoting superior academic and athletic achievements by their student athletes and his ability to rally record levels of fundraising for facility improvements in all sports. He has experience at the highest levels of competitive college sports and he is an acknowledged national leader among NCAA athletic directors. Dave is a perfect match for our Wildcat family.”

The football team won the MAC Championshp in Heek’s first full year as AD at CMU, and again in 2009.

According to Central Michigan, Heeke was the leader on a $22.5 million project that completely renovated the Rose Center, “as well as the addition of a dynamic entryway and new practice facilities for basketball, volleyball and wrestling.”

Prior to joining the Chippewas, the 53-year-old spent 18 years at Oregon, eventually earning the title of associate athletic director/chief of staff. His primary role was to generate revenue through external operations.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the Arizona Athletics family. It is truly an honor to be named the new Vice President for Athletics and have the opportunity to return to the prestigious Pac-12 Conference,” Heeke stated. “I want to thank Dr. Hart and those involved with the search process for their confidence in my ability to lead one of the premiere athletics departments in the country. This program is about excellence and we will continue to focus on achieving at the very highest level athletically and academically, while creating the finest experience in the country for our student-athletes. I also want to thank all of the terrific people at Central Michigan University who have been so wonderful to our family during my time in Mount Pleasant. Arizona has developed a storied history and tradition and I’m looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in Tucson. I can’t wait to Bear Down.”

The soon-to-be Wildcat is an East Lansing, Michigan, native who got his degree from Albion College in 1985.

Heeke will replace Greg Byrne at Arizona, who left the school in January to become the new athletic director at Alabama.

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