Wichita State announced Thursday afternoon that athletic director Darron Boatright has received a three-year contract extension. He will continue to make his $200,000 annual salary through June 30, 2022.
Boatright’s biggest achievement to date since becoming head of the athletic department in the spring of 2015 is guiding WSU through its transition from leaving the Missouri Valley Conference to join the American Athletic Conference. The Eagle learned earlier this week that WSU opted to pay a one-time lump sum fee of $2.5 million to join the AAC one year before the original proposal, which would have introduced WSU to the conference next season with the university making $500,000 payments for five years.
As a result, WSU generated more athletic revenue (more than $33 million) in 2017-18 than it has in school history. The athletic department operated at a $1.37 million surplus, a figure that should continue to grow in the American. Boatright was also instrumental in the school negotiating a new apparel contract with Under Armour.
WSU’s acting president, Rick Muma, signed the contract, which is dated Feb. 5, 2019.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Wichita Eagle
“I’m honored that the university believes in what we are accomplishing in the athletic department and how we are developing our student-athletes,” Boatright said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to continue working closely with our coaches and staff while improving the experience of our student-athletes, both at the university and in the community.”
WSU received a record amount of contributions under Boatright last year. He has helped spearhead the efforts to raise the $2 million needed to complete the funding for the Phase V project at Eck Stadium, a plan to build a 10,000-square foot performance facility for baseball, softball, golf and tennis athletes.
Boatright also gave the final OK to build the first statue outside of Koch Arena, honoring the career and life of former Shocker basketball All-American Dave Stallworth. He was also crucial in patching up a broken relationship with legendary baseball coach Gene Stephenson, who was fired by the previous administration. Boatright played a role extending the offer for Stephenson to have his presence return around the baseball program and also giving Stephenson his dream ending by making him a lone inductee into the WSU Sports Hall of Fame this past December.
Under Boatright, WSU has won 22 conference championships and appeared in 17 NCAA Tournaments in the last four years. Student-athletes have also had at least a 3.1 cumulative grade-point average every semester, including a school-record 3.26 cumulative GPA during the Fall 2018 semester.
Boatright’s contract is filled with academic performance-based incentives. He receives a $2,500 bonus if WSU’s yearly academic progress rate hits a certain number, $3,500 if the majority of WSU’s teams score a perfect APR, $2,000 if WSU’s graduation success rate exceeds the Division I national average and $2,000 if the cumulative GPA for WSU’s student-athletes is at least 3.25. He also receives a $1,000 bonus for each time the Shockers make a NCAA Tournament.
Before WSU, Boatright had previous administration experience at Alabama Birmingham, Murray State and Alabama.