Alumnus and former star athlete Adam Puckett hired as George Fox University's new director of athletics
The 2004 graduate succeeds Craig Taylor, retiring this summer after 43 years of service to the school, the last 29 as athletic director
NEWBERG, Ore. (May 23, 2017) – After conducting a nationwide search, George Fox University is turning to one of its own to head its intercollegiate athletics program beginning with the 2017-18 academic year.
Adam Puckett, a 2004 graduate of the university and a member of its board of trustees since 2011, will assume the role of director of athletics this summer following the retirement of longtime employee Craig Taylor, who steps down in June following a 43-year career at George Fox – the last 29 as athletic director. Puckett arrives from Delap, a Portland-based accounting and advisory firm where he was a partner and worked the last 13 years as a Certified Public Accountant.
Puckett was an athlete himself at George Fox in the early 2000s, and he remains No. 4 on the school's all-time lists in the long jump and triple jump. He capped his collegiate career by earning All-American honors his senior year by placing seventh in the long jump at the NCAA Division III National Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
But while he's always had an affinity for athletics, Puckett said the position alone isn't what persuaded him to apply. The fact the job is at his alma mater is its biggest selling point.
"I have never felt called to apply for other athletic director postings," said Puckett, recipient of George Fox's Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award in 2014. "So why George Fox? I truly believe in the mission and values of this university. From my time as a student-athlete, to my time as a member of the board of trustees, it is evident that George Fox lives its values, putting students first and Christ in everything. It is a dream come true for me to return home to George Fox University to be the next director of athletics."
Puckett has remained active at the university since graduating with bachelor's degrees in business administration and accounting. In addition to serving on the school's board of trustees, he has worked the past year and a half as an adjunct professor teaching corporate tax classes. He also regularly attends athletic events and activities on campus.
He believes his career as an accountant has prepared him for this next challenge.
"I think most folks imagine an accountant as the guy behind the desk, with the coffee-stained shirt and the 10-key calculator tape spilling over the desk – you know, the quintessential picture of the 'bean counter,'" he said. "However, the reality is that my time at Delap gave me the opportunity to be part of hundreds of companies, study countless industries, and sit with executives from all over the Northwest. It has given me ample experience that will cross over to the task of running the athletic department.
"Most importantly, my experiences have taught me the value and importance of relationship, collaboration, vision casting, accountability, developing others, and leadership. All of these traits will be vital in this new role."
Puckett proved his mettle at Delap, at 30 becoming the firm's youngest employee to make partner. In addition, he founded an entrepreneurial business service, Revmode, which meets the needs of small businesses by moving beyond tax compliance and providing true financial mentorship. He also served on a strategic advisory board of CCH, the leading provider of account and tax software in the world.
"Adam excelled in the interview process and, as a former George Fox athlete, he showed a deep understanding of the mission and passion for furthering the development of all of our athletic programs," George Fox President Robin Baker said. "He proved that he is not a person who just counts numbers. He loves people, loves the Lord and understands the important role that sports can play at a Division III university."
Puckett inherits an athletics program coming off a banner season, as four of the school's spring teams – men's track and field, women's track and field, women's golf, and women's lacrosse – each won Northwest Conference titles, the most for George Fox in a single season since the school's move to the Division III level in 1998. Nationally, the women golfers followed with a program-best second-place finish at the NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships in Houston in mid-May.
Previously, George Fox claimed national championships in baseball (2004) and women's basketball (2009) while fielding six individual national champions in track and field since 2004 – including one each year between 2011 and 2013 and one this year in the national indoor competition.
Currently, about 22 percent of the George Fox undergraduate student body participates in intercollegiate athletics, competing in 17 sports (nine women's and eight men's). The school will add men's and women's swimming to its athletic offerings in the fall of 2018.
"I am not looking to come into the position and make rash or sweeping changes," Puckett said. "Of course, there will be decisions to be made and changes will occur. Those will certainly be handled with much consideration. My goal is to build relationships, identify where each program is and how we are already achieving – or not achieving – the stated mission. Then my hope is to build upon what I learn and take the program to the next level."
Brad Lau, vice president for student life at the university, says Puckett's passion for athletics and commitment to the overall student experience at George Fox makes him the right man for the job.
"Adam understands that the impact of athletics at George Fox goes beyond the extraordinary efforts of our student-athletes," Lau said. "It shapes the experience of all of our students and community members, and we are excited to have Adam leading this important area within the university. He wants athletics to make a positive contribution to the entire George Fox community as a vital part of our 'Be Known' promise to students."
A native of Longview, Washington, who grew up in Bend, Oregon, Puckett now lives in Newberg with his wife, Brook, and their two young children, Michaela and Josiah.
George Fox University is ranked by Forbes among the top Christian universities in the country and is a Christian college classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first-tier regional university. More than 4,000 students attend classes on the university's campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem and Redmond, Ore. George Fox offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, six seminary degrees, and 13 master's and doctoral degrees.
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