After being named the University of Oregon’s 12th director of intercollegiate athletics on July 15, 2010, Rob Mullens did not waste any time in putting his own stamp on the continual success of the Ducks’ athletics department while presiding over one of the most successful eras in school history.
Mullens arrived at Oregon from the University of Kentucky, where he served as deputy director of athletics and managed day-to-day operations for Kentucky’s 22-sport athletics department, with an annual operating budget of $79 million.
In his three-year tenure in Eugene, he has implemented his philosophy of financial efficiency while overseeing a $93.8 million budget for the 2013 fiscal year, in addition to enhancing the department’s model of self-sufficiency.
He has assisted with the continued success of a football program that has been surpassed by few nationally, with the Ducks claiming three conference championships in four seasons, including the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game title, while becoming the only school in the country to appear in a fourth consecutive BCS bowl game following the 2012 regular season. Following a Rose Bowl victory in the 2012 Grandaddy of Them All, Oregon posted a second straight BCS bowl win by downing Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.
Spurred by a No. 2 final national ranking in football, NCAA championships in women’s cross country and indoor track & field, a national runner-up finish in volleyball, a Sweet 16 run by the men’s basketball team and postseason national seeds for baseball and softball, the Ducks registered a school-record 929.75 points in the Director’s Cup to place 15th overall and rank among the top 25 for a fourth time in five years. Oregon is the only program with 18 or fewer NCAA sports in the history of the Director’s Cup - which measures the collective success of college athletic departments - to place among the top 15 nationally, a feat the Ducks have done twice.
Off the field, Mullens saw UO student-athletes earn six Capitol One Academic All-America awards, matching a single-season best for the second year in a row. All told, 95 student-athletes won academic all-conference awards, including a pair of Pac-12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
He also was at the helm as the Ducks opened their spectacular Matthew Knight Arena, which plays host to the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, women’s volleyball and acrobatics and tumbling, in addition to benefitting the entire Eugene-Springfield communities as a state-of-the-art venue for concerts, cultural forums and world-class entertainment.
His background is in accounting and auditing, and he promoted sound fiscal management and self-sufficiency at the University of Kentucky. During his total of eight years at Kentucky, the athletic department’s operating budget expanded by nearly 70 percent. Fundraising for the department hit record levels each of the past seven years prior to his departure.
Prior to being named deputy director of athletics at Kentucky in 2006, Mullens began as the university’s executive associate director of athletics in 2002. He served at the University of Maryland from 1996 to 2002, starting as assistant director of athletics for business and ultimately as executive senior associate director of athletics and chief of staff.
The West Virginia native was senior athletics business manager at the University of Miami (Fla.) from 1994 to 1996, and prior to that he was an accountant/auditor at Ernst & Young in Raleigh, N.C.
The 44-year-old Mullens earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in sport management from West Virginia University in 1991 and 1993, respectively. He and his wife, Jane, have two sons - Cooper and Tanner.