Rob Mullens has presided over one of the most successful eras in the University of Oregon’s history with Duck student-athletes setting milestone records both on the field and in the classroom. He has guided Oregon to the top 15 nationally in the Directors’ Cup, a national assessment of an athletic department’s overall achievements. At the same time, Mullens has improved the Ducks’ academic standards to where the University now averages more than 100 academic all-conference selections annually.
And just as important as the athletic and academic success, Oregon’s philosophy of fiscal efficiency during Mullens’ tenure has been recognized nationwide. The University is one of only a handful of institutions nationwide that is self-sufficient as the Oregon brand continues to grow.
Those three pillars – academic excellence, broad-based competitive excellence and fiscal efficiency – comprise the foundation of Mullens’ core beliefs as he oversees nearly 500 student-athletes and a budget of nearly $98 million. Yet Mullens himself would tell you that it is the talented student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Oregon that are the department’s most valuable assets.
Mullens was named the University’s 12th director of intercollegiate athletics on July 15, 2010, after arriving 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.
Since Mullens’ arrival in Eugene, the Duck football team has claimed two 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.
After a Rose Bowl victory in the 2012 Granddaddy of Them All, Oregon posted a second straight BCS bowl win by downing Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl and came back the next season with a dominating performance against Texas in Alamo Bowl.
Spurred by national championships in men’s outdoor track and field, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field, as well as top three national finishes by softball and women’s outdoor track and field in 2013-14, the Ducks registered a school-record 943 points in the Directors’ Cup to place 15th overall and rank among the top 25 for a fifth time in six years.
In the history of the Directors’ Cup, Oregon is the only program with 18 or fewer NCAA sports to place among the top 15 nationally, a feat the Ducks have done three times.
Off the field, Mullens saw three-quarters of UO student-athletes earn degrees, and three garner Capitol One Academic All-America awards. All told, more than 100 student-athletes won academic all-conference awards.
He also arrived 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.
Mullens’ 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 45-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.
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