Greenville, N.C. – Jeff Compher was officially introduced as East Carolina’s athletics director on Wednesday during a news conference at the Murphy Center on East Carolina’s campus.
Compher speaks at Wednesday's news conference.
After spending the past five years at Northern Illinois, Compher succeeds Terry Holland, who announced his retirement in December, as the Pirates’ head of athletics.
Compher’s duties will officially begin on May 1.
“I believe ECU is poised for greatness and I am thrilled to be a part of the Pirate Nation,” said Compher. “We look forward to getting to know the student-athletes, coaches and staff as well as the many fans and supporters of ECU athletics.”
Between athletic administrative jobs early in his career, the 53-year-old previously lived in Greenville with his wife Cathy. One of his sons, C.J., was also born in the city.
“My heart and my home have been in this area,” said Compher, who tried his hand at pharmaceutical sales in Greenville around two decades ago. “No matter where I’ve traveled, where we’ve lived, I’ve always felt the whisper in my ear from this great state and the fine city of Greenville.”
Since leaving Greenville, Compher has watched from afar as ECU’s undergone a tremendous growth spurt.
“A lot of things have changed,” Compher said. “Obviously, the facilities have changed. They’ve done a fantastic job in building a competitive infrastructure for college athletics here at ECU. I’m just thrilled that those things are in place.”
During his tenure at NIU, Compher helped lead the Huskies to new heights both academically and athletically. For the past seven years, all of Northern Illinois’ 17 collegiate sports teams have passed the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate.
The Huskies’ 2012-13 football team went to the first BCS bowl in program history, falling to Florida State in the Orange Bowl and finishing the season ranked No. 22 in the AP poll.
Compher envisions the same thing happening at ECU. When asked what he expects to look back and say once his tenure in Greenville is done, the Baltimore, Md., native wasn’t shy about his long-term goals.
“One where we look back and say, ‘this is the era of championships,’” he said. “Conference championships, national championships, All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, tops in our class in conference in academic achievement, graduation rates, GPA – all of those things.”
Compher’s contract includes an annual base salary of $415,000 with potential bonuses for athletic, academic and compliance performances.
A graduate of James Madison University, Compher has also held roles in athletics at N.C. State, Vanderbilt, Western Carolina and the University of Washington, among others.