The UNCW athletic department has made tremendous strides since Jimmy Bass took over the helm of the program in October of 2010.
Bass introduced a comprehensive strategic plan during his first year and the Seahawks have embraced it with great success. Under his energetic leadership, the Seahawks have captured 11 Colonial Athletic Association championships over the last three seasons.
With a recognized expertise in marketing and fund raising, the North Carolina native restructured the department's fundraising arm and orchestrated a $2 million renovation to venerable Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks also reached a sponsorship consulting partnership with IMG Worldwide.
Bass came to UNCW after spending three years as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations at East Carolina. He had held previous positions at Mississippi State, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, UNCW and Davidson.
Bass, 56, returned to the Port City after serving as UNCW's first full-time athletics fundraiser in 1986. As Executive Director of the UNCW Student Aid Association (Seahawk Club) and Associate Director of Athletics, he bolstered the school's athletic scholarship efforts and pushed membership in the Seahawk Club from 250 to 1,100 during his three-year stay.
Bass has had a wide variety of experience that includes development, ticketing, marketing and fundraising. He joined the ECU staff for the second time in February 2006 and has coordinated all fundraising, marketing, promotional, ticketing and media relations efforts for East Carolina's 19 intercollegiate athletic programs and acted as the department's top liaison with marketing firm ISP Sports.
Bass began his professional career in 1979 as Assistant Director of the Wildcat Club and Athletic Ticket Manager at Davidson before accepting an assistant director's position on the Wolfpack Club staff at N.C. State in 1981. He then came to Wilmington, where he helped energize the Seahawk Nation.
He then moved on to work with former ECU Athletics Director Dave Hart Jr. at ECU. In Greenville, he developed, coordinated and implemented marketing and promotional goals for Pirate and Lady Pirate programs. He initiated a comprehensive and revenue-producing corporate sponsorship program that remains a model of success today.
Following an 11-month assignment at Pitt, where he instituted a new point priority system and revamped the annual giving levels and member benefits program, Bass returned to Raleigh as N.C. State's Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Alumni Association from November 1994 to April 2000.
Bass returned to athletics at N.C. State as Associate Executive Director of the Wolfpack Club from April 2000 to July 2005. He directed the strategic planning and execution of the Goal Line Drive, a five-year campaign that raised more than $60 million for expansion and improvements at Carter-Finley Stadium. During the same time, he also spearheaded the Batter Up Campaign for the renovation of Doak Baseball Field and the Advantage Wolfpack Campaign for the construction of the Isenhour Indoor Tennis Center.
Bass then served as Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Mississippi State for six months, where he headed all development and fundraising activities for the Bulldogs. In addition to directing all annual giving, major gift and capital campaigns, Bass provided oversight to MSU's athletic ticketing, marketing and promotions efforts.
Bass earned a bachelor's degree in speech communication from N.C. State in 1978 before completing his master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 1980. He is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD).
Bass is married to the former Sarah Ruark, and the couple has a son, Joseph Corey.
Bass is UNCW's sixth athletics director, following William J. "Bill" Brooks, Paul Miller, Peg Bradley-Doppes, Mike Capaccio and Kelly Mehrtens.
The Jimmy Bass Timeline
Oct. 19, 2010: Named sixth athletic director in UNCW history during press conference in Golden Hawk Room of Nixon Annex.
Feb. 7, 2011: Appoints Melissa Lewis as Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Support Services.
Feb. 10, 2011: Restructures department's fundraising arm to be led by Senior Associate A.D. Patrick Ransdell.
Feb. 18, 2011: Announces gift of $250,000 by longtime benefactors Sylvia H. and George Rountree III to provide a foundation for improvements to Trask Coliseum.
May 23, 2011: Unveils a new strategic plan that encompasses 35 pages and maps out the department's goals through 2015 and beyond.
July 7, 2011: Oversees $2 million renovation to Trask Coliseum, the 34-year-old cornerstone of the program
May 1, 2012: The men's tennis team earns its first at-large entry into the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships.
May 3, 2012: Introduces Tusculum College coach Adell Harris as UNCW's new women's basketball coach in a press conference in the Golden Hawk Room.
June 13, 2012: Selected president of the Colonial Athletic Association during the league's summer meetings in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
June 19, 2012: Signs an agreement with IMG College on a multi-year athletics sponsorship consulting partnership.
July 1, 2012: Plans renovations for the women's basketball locker room facility.
July 6, 2012: Names James Madison assistant coach and Fayetteville native Kristy Norton to direct softball program.
May 23, 2013: Working with CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager and the league's CEO's, announces that Elon will join the CAA in 2014-15.
CAA Championships Under Jimmy Bass