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Next Chapter in Azusa Pacific Athletics: Odell to Retire, Pine to Become Athletic Director

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Published
February 23, 2011
By
Allison Oster

  • Bill Odell’s 15 years as athletic director marked by 22 national championships and 6 Directors’ Cups
  • Gary Pine brings 30 years of distinguished sports information direction to post and continues legacy of athletic direction

Azusa, Calif. —After 15 years as the leader of the NAIA’s top intercollegiate athletics program, Azusa Pacific University Director of Athletics Bill Odell announced his retirement at the end of the 2010–11 academic year. In turn, the administration promoted current Associate Director of Athletics/Sports Information Director Gary Pine to succeed the outgoing Odell, effective July 1, 2011.

Odell, who turns 69 in May, informed university leaders of his decision earlier this month. Pine, 49, has a distinguished career in intercollegiate athletics and media relations administration spanning 30 years. This athletic director leadership transition marks another significant chapter in a legacy of athletic director mentorship and development at Azusa Pacific. Cougar Athletics Department personnel learned of these decisions today in a meeting with university President Dr. Jon R. Wallace.

“The past 20 years at Azusa Pacific have been a wonderful time for me and my wife, Gayle. I have enjoyed being associated with this fine university and the opportunity to help shape the Athletics Department into one of the best in the nation. We have a great staff and the best coaches an athletic director could want. It’s been a treasure to be their leader, but Gayle and I are looking forward to a different pace in our life that will allow us to be active grandparents and supporters to our adult children.” –Bill Odell, athletic director

“I am grateful to Bill for his leadership and wisdom over the past two decades. The excellence Bill exhibits in his own personal life is reflected in his athletic director leadership and achievements. He has been an integral figure in shaping the success and direction of our athletics program and the people who comprise it. This university remains indebted to Bill for building upon a legacy of excellence in athletics, realizing his vision to take APU to the next level in integrity-based competition, and preparing his successor for the next leg of the journey.” –President Jon R. Wallace, DBA

“Gary Pine brings 30 years of distinguished service in intercollegiate athletics in a variety of venues, from the NAIA level to NCAA Division I, and in individual schools and conference offices, to his forthcoming role as athletic director. During his tenure at APU, he has secured strong endorsements from administrators, faculty, coaches, and student-athletes alike. He represents the next generation of athletics leadership to emerge at APU, continuing a tradition that I’m proud to have been part of. He has my full support and complete confidence.” –Terry Franson, Ph.D., former APU athletic director and current senior vice president for student life/dean of students

“I’m honored and humbled by the confidence and endorsement that Drs. Wallace and Franson have expressed in me. This university has had an important place in my heart for more than half of my life. I’m being entrusted with a dynamic program, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead in shaping its future with the outstanding coaches and staff that have helped make it one of the best in the nation.” –Gary Pine, associate athletic director/sports information director

“Azusa Pacific University is fortunate to have Gary Pine on staff and ready to take over Cougar Athletics,” said Odell. “A vital part of many aspects of our program, Gary is well prepared for this leadership role. His history at APU, his ties to the NAIA, and his experience in the NCAA will allow him to lead our coaches and student-athletes in this next chapter of God-honoring excellence in athletics.” –Bill Odell, athletic director

Odell's Accomplishments

  • Arrived at Azusa Pacific in summer 1991 after a highly successful 23-year career as a Southern California high school basketball coach.
  • Transformed APU’s men’s basketball program into a consistent National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national power.
  • Moved into a dual role as head men’s basketball coach and athletic director within six years, succeeding Franson, who was promoted to vice president of student life/dean of students.
  • Molded an Azusa Pacific athletics program with unmatched success among its current NAIA peers in 15 years since his appointment.
  • Cougar teams captured 22 NAIA national championships under Odell’s watch, the most by any NAIA school in that time span.
  • Guided Azusa Pacific to became the standard-bearer of all NAIA schools by winning an unprecedented 6 straight Directors’ Cups (2005–10).
  • Under Odell, 12 Cougar sports have won an NAIA title, played in the NAIA championship game, or finished second in the NAIA tournament.
  • Advocated for women’s intercollegiate competition and added women’s tennis (1999), women’s water polo (2009), women’s swimming and diving (2009), and acrobatics and tumbling (2010), bringing the total number of sports offerings to 19.
  • Of the 14 current Cougar head coaches, all but 1 were hired by Odell, including NAIA National Coaches of the Year Mike Barnett (women’s track and field), Preston Grey (women’s cross country), and Mark Bohren (men’s tennis).
  • Initiated Azusa Pacific’s exploration of NCAA Division II membership. The university will apply for NCAA Division II membership by June 1, 2011.
  • Selected for induction into the prestigious NAIA Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of his Azusa Pacific predecessors Drs. Cliff Hamlow and Franson. Odell will be enshrined during ceremonies March 15 in Kansas City, Mo., on the eve of the NAIA Men’s Basketball Division I Tournament.

Pine's Accomplishments

  • Served as associate director of athletics at Azusa Pacific University, the premier college sports program in the NAIA for six years, providing leadership and management for an athletics program with more than 400 student-athletes.
  • Contributed more than 23 years as APU’s sports information director, interfacing with print and electronic media and serving as the sports information liaison to Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Executive Committee.
  • Formulated media relations strategy at the Big West Conference, an NCAA Division I, 10-school conference, and as assistant SID at the University of Southern California (USC), one of the nation’s most recognized collegiate athletics programs.
  • Extensive media coordination track record, including five years media row supervision at the Kansas City, Mo.-based NAIA Basketball Tournament and NAIA Track and Field Championships throughout the country.
  • Provided media relations assistance for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the 2002 playoffs and the World Series.
  • Received 1997 Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award for NAIA Sports Information Director of the Year.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Allison Oster, public relations manager, at (626) 815-4518 or aoster@apu.edu.

Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical, Christian university committed to God First and excellence in higher education. With 53 undergraduate majors, 37 master’s degrees, 21 credentials, 7 doctoral programs, and 5 certificates, the university offers its more than 9,200 students a quality education on campus, online, and at seven regional centers throughout Southern California. Azusa Pacific Athletics has captured an unprecedented 6 straight Directors' Cups for the NAIA, won 35 NAIA national championships, second most in association history, and secured 106 GSAC championships.

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