SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

SJSU President Names New Athletics Director

Gene Bleymaier and President Qayoumi (Christina Olivas photos)

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, University Media Relations, (408) 656-6999
Lawrence Fan, Athletics Media Relations, (408) 768-3424

SAN JOSE, CA – San José State University President Mohammad Qayoumi has appointed Gene Bleymaier as SJSU’s new athletics director, effective June 30, 2012.

“I am thrilled Gene Bleymaier has agreed to bring his tremendous leadership skills and record of success to San José State, especially at a time when our football team is showing such strong potential,” President Qayoumi said. “We are also fortunate he will arrive at SJSU as we move to the Mountain West from the Western Athletic Conference, a transition he navigated with great success at Boise State.”

As Boise State’s athletics director for nearly three decades, Bleymaier is widely credited with transforming the Broncos football team into a national phenomenon, with a top-10 ranking in the past three seasons. His staff built or expanded nearly every athletics facility on campus, and he added four women’s sports without dropping any men’s sports, noted the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

“I see the same great potential in San José State that I saw in Boise State when I first arrived there,” Bleymaier said. “I am pleased to accept President Qayoumi’s offer, and to have the opportunity to take the reins at Spartan Athletics at such an exciting time. My wife Danell and I are looking forward to joining our four children, all of whom now reside in the Bay Area.”

After graduating from Borah High School in Boise, Bleymaier went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA in 1975, where he played football for legendary coaching great and SJSU alumnus Dick Vermeil. Bleymaier earned a law degree from Loyola Law School in 1978, and served as a UCLA assistant athletics director before returning to Idaho. He joined the Boise State athletics department as an assistant athletics director in 1981, and was promoted to athletics director in 1982.

Bleymaier has been recognized nationally for his leadership. He received the prestigious Bobby Dodd Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2011. He was one of five nominees for the Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily Athletic Director of the Year for 2010, and the only nominee from a non-automatic qualifying Bowl Championship Series school. Bleymaier left Boise State in September 2011, after the NCAA uncovered compliance violations.

“I know people will raise concerns about NCAA compliance issues during Gene’s tenure at Boise State,” President Qayoumi said. “Let me assure you I shared those same concerns. After thoroughly discussing these issues with the NCAA and Gene, and considering Gene’s extraordinary 30-year career, I am confident he is the right choice for San José State.”

Bleymaier, 58, has signed a five-year contract setting his state salary at $220,092, the same amount as his predecessor. Bleymaier will also receive an annual supplement of $102,000 from the Tower Foundation, which will raise funds from private donors for this purpose.

San José State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.