After conducting a nationwide search, George Fox University turned 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, assumed the role of director of athletics in the summer of 2017 following the retirement of longtime employee Craig Taylor. Puckett arrived from Delap, a Portland-based accounting and advisory firm where he was a partner and worked for 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.
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 also taught corporate tax classes on an adjunct basis.
He believes his career as an accountant prepared him for the challenge of being an athletic director.
"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 inherited an athletics program coming off a banner season, as four of the school's spring 2017 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."
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.