Jason Vittone of William Woods University has been selected by his peers as the 2013-14 American Midwest Conference Athletic Director of the Year. This is the first time Vittone has received this prestigious honor.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive the award, but the credit for our success at William Woods lies with the faculty, staff, administration, alumni, boosters and students,” said Vittone. “I was very fortunate to inherit an exceptional coaching and support staff and am truly blessed to be a part of a great institution.”
Vittone was named director of intercollegiate athletics in September 2011, after spending four years being the Sports Information Director and Champions of Character Coordinator at William Woods.
In his first year at the helm, Vittone oversaw a WWU athletics department that produced 73 academic all-conference recipients and 19 NAIA Scholar-Athletes. The department grade point average (GPA) exceeded 3.1 in the fall and spring semester, while 13 sports qualified to receive the NAIA Scholar-Team award.
During the fall of 2012, Vittone announced the creation of the William Woods University Athletics Hall of Fame, which already has inducted Lana Unnewehr-Brooks, Helen Stephens, Roger Ternes, Ashley Windmiller, Erin Jewell-Zamora, Patricia Wilderman, and the 2002 men’s volleyball team.
On the field, court and track in his first year, the department produced 76 first team All-Conference athletes and five NAIA All-Americans. The Owls had six teams reach the semi-finals or finals of their conference tournament, seven conference championships were won, 14 individuals and three teams advanced to the NAIA National Championships, and for the first time, the William Woods University Athletics Department won the American Midwest Conference President’s Cup.
Since then, the success at WWU has continued the past two seasons, as for the ninth consecutive semester, WWU athletes’ collective GPA was above a 3.0, which can be attributed to 53 NAIA Scholar-Athletes, 19 NAIA Scholar-Teams, 218 AMC Academic All-Conference honorees and 19 CoSIDA Academic All-District/All-America winners.
In two years on the field, the Owls have totaled 36 NAIA All-Americans and 16 AMC Championships, while nine teams and 26 individuals have advanced to Nationals in their respective sports, including men’s and track and field athlete Anthony Stockton becoming the first individual National Champion for WWU, which also allowed the Owls to win its second consecutive AMC President’s Cup Trophy.
This past 2013-14 year was a memorable one for WWU on the field, as during the fall/winter seasons, WWU sent several teams and athletes to Nationals: women’s cross country, men’s cross country athlete Kaleb Wilson, women’s basketball and both men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams. During the spring season, history was made as every spring sport at William Woods qualified a team or individual for the NAIA National Championships.
The biggest news perhaps, came at the end of the 2014 season from the NAIA, which along with the Independence Tourism Department, awarded the 2015 and 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships to the city of Independence, with assistance coming from William Woods University.
Since becoming the director of intercollegiate athletics at William Woods, Vittone initiated a corporate sponsorship fundraising program and to date 20-plus companies have joined the program. Funds raised from this initiative have been used to improve team travel, equipment and facilities.
As the American Midwest Conference Athletic Director of the Year, Jason Vittone will now be nominated along with the other NAIA Conference Athletic Directors of the Year to receive the National Athletic Director of the Year honor.