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Central Washington University

CWU Names Dennis Francois New Athletic Director

Dennis Francois has been appointed athletic director of Central Washington University.  Francois is currently the associate athletic director for external affairs in the Department of Athletics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He will assume his new position at CWU on June 17. Central athletic teams compete within the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II ranks.  
 
“We're delighted to welcome Dennis to Central," said CWU President James L. Gaudino, a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council. “A national search and review by alumni and fans across the state made him our top choice. His NCAA Division I experience and his work as a Division II athletic director have prepared him to build on the remarkable success of Wildcat athletics.”     
 
Francois was selected from an initial list of 86 candidates. He’s served at Drake since 2008, following three years as director of athletics and recreational sports at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon.  Francois said his Oregon experience familiarized him with the GNAC and the challenges athletics face during times of fiscal retrenchment.
 
“The GNAC includes schools from Alaska to Utah, and they're all struggling to thrive in the face of declining state support for public education," said Francois. "But I’m confident that Central can remain a leader within the conference, while working collaboratively to find creative solutions to assist all members and strengthening the conference as a whole.” 
 
From 2002-03, Francois was also the interim director of athletics at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and he has served as an assistant collegiate wrestling coach and professor of sport administration.  
 
“The importance of ‘student’ in student-athlete has, and always will take precedent in my athletic administrative role,” he said. “Although I firmly believe that life skills developed through athletic participation have tremendous value in all aspects of life, I maintain that education is a necessary ingredient to maximizing one’s potential and the true intent of intercollegiate athletics in higher education.” 
 
Francois earned his bachelor of science in communication from Missouri State University, in Springfield, Missouri, in 1990; his master of arts in physical education from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, in 1995; and his PhD of Philosophy, Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 1998 from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. New Mexico.
 
Francois will succeed Jack Bishop, who has served as CWU’s athletic director since 2000, and is retiring in June.  
 
Media contact: Robert Lowery, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, loweryr@cwu.edu