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Big Rapids, Mich. - Another successful chapter in the history of Ferris State University Athletics will come to an end soon as Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic announced his retirement on Wednesday (June 2) in an afternoon press conference at the Wheeler Pavilion on the FSU campus.
Kirinovic has served as a member of the athletics department staff for more than 27 years and been the school’s Athletics Director since November 29, 1999. The retirement is effective June 30 and a nationwide search for his successor will be conducted by the university. The department’s senior women’s administrator Keri Becker, who’s also the head softball coach, will serve as Interim Athletics Director until a successor is found.
“It has been my pleasure to serve the student-athletes and coaches of this institution for over 27 years,” Kirinovic said. “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve by working together as a team and I believe our efforts have made alumni, boosters and fans of Bulldog Athletics proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Kirinovic, who has gained recognition for his skills in areas of athletics management, public relations, marketing, and fundraising, was appointed interim athletics director in mid-July 1999 before becoming a unanimous choice for the position.
In his 11-year tenure as athletics director, Kirinovic has been responsible for overseeing the Bulldogs' 15-sport intercollegiate athletics program. Under his leadership, more than 800 student-athletes have received academic all-conference honors and more than 375 student-athletes have been tabbed as all-conference performers. The Bulldogs have also won 13 conference championships and more than 85 student-athletes have attained All-America recognition.
Additionally, in the Kirinovic era, FSU has completed or renovated athletic facilities for basketball, football, softball, track, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis and golf under his watch along with developing the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame. Ferris has placed four times among the nation’s top 35 programs in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Division II All-Sports Standings over the past six years, including the school’s highest finish ever at 21st in 2004-05. In the last three years, two different FSU student-athletes have also been chosen as the nation’s top overall student-athlete in any sport at the Division II level with both coming from the Bulldog football program.
“The university is appreciative of Tom’s many years of dedicated service to Ferris,” said FSU???Vice President for Administration & Finance Jerry Scoby. “We are most grateful for Tom’s efforts to make our student-athletes’ experiences of the utmost quality and wish him the very best in retirement.”
In his time as AD, 14 of FSU’s 15 teams have qualified for NCAA National Tournament competition and five have posted their highest-ever national finishes at the Division II level. The Bulldogs have finished in the upper half of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President’s Trophy All-Sports Standings all 11 years under Kirinovic, including two runner-up efforts and six top three showings. He’s also been responsible for hiring five of Ferris’ current head coaches who presently direct 10 of FSU’s 15 varsity programs.
“Tom has done an outstanding job of leading Ferris State Athletics into an era of excellence and growth over the many years he as served the University,” said hockey head coach Bob Daniels, who’s the Bulldogs’ longest-tenured head coach at 18 years. “He has been a mentor and friend to the coaches who have had the pleasure to serve under him. Of the many attributes he has brought to the department, the ones that stand out above all others are his loyalty to the student athletes and his devotion to making their experience a positive and productive one.”
Prior to becoming athletics director, Kirinovic was formerly the department’s associate athletics director since August 1994. He was originally appointed interim athletics director on April 8, 1993, following the retirement of then athletics director Dean Davenport. Kirinovic also served a two-year (1992-93) stint as assistant athletics director at FSU after holding the dual position of assistant athletics director and ice arena manager from 1987-91. In 1991, he was appointed as fundraising manager in the department. He initially began his FSU career in August 1982, returning to his alma mater as athletic business manager.
Along with his administrative work, Kirinovic coached the 1989
Ferris State softball team to a 17-15 overall record and its first
winning season in six years. He also logged five years of coaching
experience at Ovid-Elsie High School in Elsie, Mich., as a varsity
assistant for both football and basketball while also serving as
head coach of the school's freshmen and junior varsity baseball
Kirinovic has been active in conference, regional and national committees during his tenure at Ferris State. Most recently, he has served on the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association (DII ADA) Board of Directors along with the NCAA Division II National Football Committee. He’s also been a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Basketball Ranking Committee. Kirinovic also served as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President for the 2005-06 athletics season.
In addition to being a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Kirinovic has also held membership in the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administration (NACMA). Locally, the Big Rapids (Mich.) Lions Club member is a past chair of the Mecosta-Osceola United Way Drive and a past president of the Big Rapids Public Schools' Board of Education.
Kirinovic, 55, received a bachelor's degree in business education from Ferris in 1977 and a master's in education administration from Central Michigan University in 1982. He and his wife, Marge, are the parents of two sons, Blake (28) and Matt (25), both of whom have been involved working in the athletics field. Marge is a teacher at Riverview Elementary in Big Rapids.
About Interim Athletics Director Keri Becker
Keri Becker has served as Ferris State’s head softball coach for the past 13 years and compiled a career 409-253-1 (.618) overall record. She’s directed FSU to an overall GLIAC Championship (2000), three GLIAC Tournament titles (1999, 2000 & 2005), three NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Championship crowns (1998, 1999, 2008) and the three most successful seasons in the program’s history (1997-99). The Sanford, Mich., native played collegiate softball at Saginaw Valley State and was a four-time all-conference honoree. She has served as a member of the National Championship Softball Committee and chair of the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Ranking Committee during her tenure. Becker, who was called to active United States Army duty in 2003 and served in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, is a three-time GLIAC Softball Coach of the Year. In addition to serving as the department’s Senior Women’s Administrator, Becker also handles NCAA compliance issues for Ferris State.
“Keri is a highly-respected member of the athletics staff and we are extremely pleased she has agreed to take on this additional responsibility,” Scoby said.
About The Search Process
The retirement is effective June 30 and a nationwide search for Kirinovic’s successor will be conducted by the university. The department’s senior women’s administrator Keri Becker, who’s also the head softball coach, will serve as Interim Athletics Director until a successor is found.
“We will move forward as quickly as possible to fill this important position for the university,” Scoby said. “That being said, we will also take the time necessary to find a well qualified person to lead the next chapter in our athletics program.
“If possible, we would like to have the next AD here for the start of the fall semester,” he added.
Ferris State University - Announced the retirement of Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic effective June 30; Appointed Keri Becker Interim Athletics Director.