Barbara Burke, the deputy director of athletics and senior women’s administrator at the University of Wyoming, has been hired as the new athletic director at Eastern Illinois University. The announcement was made by EIU President William L. Perry earlier today.
Burke becomes the ninth full-time athletic director in the Panthers' 108 years of athletic competition. She replaces Ken Baker, who has served as the interim athletic director since August.
“I would like to say thank you to Dr. Perry, Dr. Nadler and the search committee for the confidence they have shown in me,” Burke said. “I count it an honor tobe offered this position. I am extremely thrilled andhumbled to become the next athletic director at Eastern Illinois University. I understand and appreciate the rich tradition at EIU and the role that intercollegiate athletics playswithin the academic community.”
“I also want to say thank you to Dr. Tom Buchanan, president of The University of Wyoming and Mr. Tom Burman, director of athletics at The University of Wyoming. The experiences created for me at UW under their leadership and the leadership of othershas provided me with this exciting opportunity. Having been a student-athlete, coach and administrator has helped to prepare me for this step. I will count on these years of experiences to help lead the Panther program,” added Burke.
Burke has spent the past 10 years at Wyoming, serving in a variety of capacities since first joining the staff in March 1998. Since July 2006, she has served as the deputy director of athletics and senior women’s administrator. In that role, she helped to oversee strategic planning for the department, as well as the day-to-day operations of Wyoming’s 17-sport, $19 million athletic program.
“I am very pleased that Barbara Burke is joining the Eastern family as director of athletics," Perry said. "Barbara stood out as the top candidate in an extremely strong pool of candidates for the position. Her career experience, planning skillsand organizational abilities are first rate. Hercommitment to our objectives in the integration of the athletic department in the life of the university, to the development of our student athletes, and to the progress of our athletic programs is first rate.”
In addition to her years of service at Wyoming as a senior administrator, Burke has had athletic administration experience at the University of Texas at El Paso (1997-98), Marshall University (1994-97), and West Virginia State University (1992-94). During stints at Wyoming and UTEP, Burke was named interim athletic director at the institutions, serving as both schools made transitions to new athletic directors.
A member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA) and National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA), Burke has served on numerous athletic committees, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball committee (2005-07), Mountain West Conference Championship committee (2004), and Southern Conference Softball Sports/Tournament committee (1995-96). She served as Wyoming’s representative on the Mountain West Conference transition team as the new league was formed in 1998.
Burke also brings years of coaching and playing experience to Eastern Illinois. She was a four-year member of both the softball and basketball teams at Western Michigan University (1976-80), leading the Broncos to the Women’s College Softball World Series in 1980. She was inducted into the WMU Hall of Fame in 1988.
“Barbara brings a wealth of administrative and coaching experience to EIU. She will be totally committed to the academic and athletic development of our student-athletes,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs.
A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Burke started her coaching career at Kalamazoo Central High School, with her first collegiate coaching job coming in 1980 as the head softball coach and assistant basketball coach at Tennessee Temple University. She followed that with coaching stops at Clearwater Christian College in Florida, Cornerstone College in Michigan, Indiana University Southeast and West Virginia State College. Three times she was named the district coach of the year during her softball and basketball coaching career.
“I look forward to getting settled in Charleston and becoming active in the university and local community,” stated Burke. “I am also eager to get to know the coaching staffs and student-athletes and develop strategies together for program development.”
Burke, 49, earned a bachelor of science degree from Western Michigan in 1980 and a master of education degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1984.
Eastern Illinois is an NCAA Division I program, located in Charleston, Ill., with 17 of its 21 sports competing in the Ohio Valley Conference. EIU holds affiliate memberships with the Missouri Valley Conference in men’s soccer and the Summit League for men’s and women’s swimming; women’s rugby plays as an NCAA Independent.