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Jim Schaus, “The Southern Conference: History/Present/Future”
September 11, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Jim Schaus, Commissioner, Southern Conference
The Southern Conference: History/Present/Future
Jim Schaus began his tenure as the ninth commissioner in Southern Conference history on July 1, 2019.
Schaus came to the SoCon after an 11-year run as the director of athletics at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to unprecedented levels of success in athletics and academics.
Under Schaus’ leadership, Ohio University’s football program was bowl eligible in all 11 years, the most in the Mid-American Conference, and participated in 10 bowls in that time, including a 27-0 win over San Diego in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl for its second straight bowl win. The Bobcats’ men’s basketball team earned three NCAA tournament wins in the last decade, making a run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2012.
Ohio University’s women’s basketball team won three MAC East Division titles in his last five seasons, making an NCAA appearance and a pair of WNIT appearances, and became the first Bobcat basketball team, men or women, to reach 30 wins in a season with a 30-6 mark in 2018-19.
The Bobcats’ volleyball team won seven MAC Championships and appeared in five NCAA Regionals during Schaus’ tenure, while the baseball and softball teams earned two MAC titles apiece.
In the classroom, Ohio University boasted an impressive graduation rate of 88 percent, and the athletic department’s federal graduation rate regularly exceeded that of the general student population. Bobcat student-athletes posted a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.1 in all 11 years of Schaus’ tenure, while Ohio University posted a department-record APR score of 990 for 2017. Twelve of the department’s 16 sports turned in perfect single-year APR scores of 1,000.
When Schaus came to Ohio University, he inherited a department with a $2.3 million budget shortfall, but he delivered a balanced budget in each of his 11 years. The Bobcats set department revenue records in ticket sales, fundraising, corporate sponsorship licensing and concession sales under his leadership.
Prior to his tenure at Ohio University, Schaus served as the athletic director at Wichita State from 1999-2008, where he was named the Division I Central Region AstroTurf AD of the Year in 2007.
With more than 30 years of experience in athletics administration, Schaus has also had stops at Oregon, Cincinnati, Texas-El Paso and Northern Illinois. He also has experience in the NFL, having worked as an intern for the New England Patriots and as the director of marketing for the Washington Redskins, and served as a publicity assistant for the LPGA Tour.
Schaus has a familial connection to the Southern Conference, as his father, former Los Angeles Lakers coach Fred Schaus, was the men’s basketball coach at West Virginia from 1954-60, earning SoCon Coach of the Year honors four times in that six-year span and still ranking in the top 20 in career wins by a league coach.
Jim Schaus earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue in 1983 and a master’s in athletics administration from West Virginia University, where he has been honored as a distinguished alumnus.
Schaus and his wife, Priscilla, have three grown children: Kevin, Diane and Laura.