Eastern Kentucky University reached into the University of Kentucky's past Friday to move its athletics programs into the future.
EKU named Steve Lochmueller, a UK basketball player in the 1970s, as its new athletics director.
EKU President Michael Benson said Lochmueller's "unique skill set" makes him ideally suited for the position.
"Steve is the son of a former student-athlete, coach and teacher; played college basketball at the highest level under legendary coaches; and has served on various athletics-affiliated boards," Benson noted. "He has been around athletics his entire life in many different roles and understands the broad spectrum that is intercollegiate athletics. Add to that his extensive business experience and his vast array of contacts within the commonwealth and beyond, and I believe we have in Steve Lochmueller a leader who can imbue our athletics operation with a business mindset focused on resource and revenue generation."
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Lochmueller will start in April, with an annual base salary of $180,000. He succeeds Mark Sandy, who resigned this year to take a similar position at Ball State.
Lochmueller, who has spent most of his career as a telecommunications executive, is currently the president of Direct Attention Inc., which provides consulting services to clients in various fields.
"I cannot express how excited I am to join the Colonel Nation," Lochmueller said in the school's news release. "It is a program with a rich championship history and enormous future potential.
"Among my first priorities will be to bolster our already strong leadership team to make sure we have the necessary administrative structure in place to achieve our lofty goals. We will aim to give our coaches the necessary resources to build and sustain championship programs with student-athletes who make us proud in the classroom, on the playing fields and courts, and in the community."
Lochmueller, one of the last players to participate in both basketball and football at UK, was a member of the university's famed 1971 "Super Kittens" recruiting class, which was undefeated as freshmen. The 6-foot-7 center/forward played on Wildcats teams that won an SEC regular-season championship and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
The Tell City, Ind., native earned a bachelor's degree in general studies from UK. He is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lochmueller lives in Lexington with his wife, Christi, and their twin children, Chase and Presley. He also has a grown daughter and son-in-law, Whitney and Steve Lawson, and one grandson, Jake.
The other finalists were: Jude A. Killy, senior associate athletics director for external operations at Miami (Ohio); Derrick Ramsey, director of athletics at Coppin State and a former UK quarterback; and Christopher Walker, associate athletics director for development at Washington State.
College Football Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd, whose EKU teams won 314 games and two national I-AA titles from 1964 to 2002, said he's excited about the hire.
"I was really impressed with Steve," Kidd said. "As a person, as a coach's son, as a former Division I athlete and as an experienced business leader, he will be a heck of an asset for the university."