|Position:||VP for Intercollegiate Athletic Programs|
|Hometown:||Fort Lauderdale, Fla.|
When Joe Castiglione was hired to be director of athletics for the University of Oklahoma, he knew all about the success that was part of OU's history. He also knew that the OU program was seeking stability and direction. In his 20 years at Oklahoma, he has led the efforts that have produced 18 national championships, nearly half of the all-time total. He has celebrated 88 conference titles, record GPAs and graduation rates. The success enjoyed in his tenure has ensured the Sooner legacy will continue to grow.
Castiglione inherited one of the most storied programs in college athletics and he went to work by creating a positive culture that emphasized core values, a dynamic mission and a collaborative spirit. The goal has been to create the "destination of choice" and a world-class experience for student-athlete development.
The 2017-18 school year yielded another accomplished campaign in school history with one national championship after a school record of four the previous year. That school record in 2016-17, combined with three national titles in 2015-16, gave OU a nation-leading seven in two years. Seventeen of 21 sports sent the full team or individuals to an NCAA championship.
Men's gymnastics won its fourth consecutive national title and the women's gymnastics team finished as the NCAA runner-up by the slimmest of margins. The football team finished third while the Sooner softball team also finished fifth. The men's golf team added a fifth-place finish. The title won by the men's gymnastics team continued a streak of at least one national title for a sixth consecutive year.
The Learfield Director's Cup recognizes overall program excellence. Evidence of OU's commitment to program excellence since Castiglione's arrival is that in 17 of his 20 years, the Sooners have ranked in the top 25.
As dominant as the commitment to excellence in competition is, an even more impressive set of numbers was being posted in the classroom. Sooner student-athletes had a 13th consecutive semester of a cumulative GPA at 3.0 or higher at the close of the academic year. The 3.13 cumulative GPA for the spring 2018 semester was a record for OU. That productivity in the classroom has translated into an 85-percent graduation rate for the Sooners.
A place where competitive dreams come true and academic excellence are the expectations, not the exceptions, is part of a values-focused culture driven at OU by Castiglione with the full support of OU's Board of Regents and University administration.
Upon his arrival, the 11th and second longest serving director of athletics at OU, Castiglione made a number of changes, and, in the process, created a team of administrators, 10 of whom have gone on to other Division I athletics director posts, coaches and support staff who pursue and achieve lofty goals under the banner of ethical integrity.
That extends into the department's finances. OU Athletics, one of the few remaining self-sustaining departments nationally, has closed the books in the black each of the last 20 years.Castiglione's responsible approach has benefitted the general campus, as well. Through direct and indirect support, the athletics department provides more than $9 million annually to OU's academics budget. It also established an endowment at Bizzell Library and partnered with the president's office to eliminate the admission fee at OU's internationally known Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
Facility improvement and construction of athletics facilities have been carried out at a record pace and Castiglione takes pride in the fact that those improvements have been funded with private donations. Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium underwent a $160 million renovation that included filling in the bowl and creating new seating options for Sooner fans and new team facilities, including locker room, training room, strength and training center and offices. Other improvements are planned throughout the historic facility in the Stadium Master Plan that includes multiple phases. A $7 million dollar improvement to the men's and women's basketball facilities at Lloyd Noble Center has been completed and a $22 million plan to build a new softball stadium was recently approved. A master plan for $10 million in renovations at baseball is also on the books. These projects follow the completion of the $75 million Headington Hall, which provides housing for the general student population as well as student-athletes. The state-of-the-art building, which has won the President's Trophy as the outstanding housing unit four of the last five years, opened in August 2013 and makes OU the leader in providing an engaging community living option for OU students.
Castiglione is quick to give full credit to the student-athletes and coaches, the staff, the OU Board of Regents, University administration, the donors and the fans for the success experienced during his tenure. It's a team approach that he has embraced throughout his successful career in athletics.
In recognition of the many achievements of his OU tenure, Castiglione was named Co-National Athletic Director of the Year in May 2018 by Sports Business Journal. He had been a finalist for that award in 2016 and also had won the award in May 2009. A survey conducted by Sports Illustrated in the summer of 2017 named him the best athletics director in the country. He received the 2018 Katha Quinn Award from the U.S. Basketball Writers of America for exceptional service to the media. He will be inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018. The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame named him the 2013 recipient of the John L. Toner Award. In April 2014, Castiglione received the Abe Lemons/ Paul Hansen Award for Sports Excellence from Oklahoma City University.
His peers have honored him as well. In November 2012, the United States Sports Academy named him the winner of the Carl Maddox Sports Management Award. In October 2004, the Bobby Dodd Foundation named him Athletics Director of the Year. In 2003, he was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators Hall of Fame. In June 2001, he received the General Robert R. Neyland Athletic Director Award for lifetime achievement from the All-American Football Foundation. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) named him Central Region AD of the Year in 2000.
The achievement that may bring him the most pride came in May 2007 when he completed a master's of education degree from OU. Subsequently, he became an adjunct professor in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, teaching graduate classes in Marketing, Development and Leadership in Higher Education. He serves on the College's Board of Advocates. He was recently recognized for his distinguished service by OU's College of Arts & Sciences.
Castiglione was instrumental in the athletics department's major campaign, Great Expectations: The Campaign for Sooner Sports. The then largest fund-raising effort in OU athletics history included projects that impacted each of OU's 21 sports and has become a national model for intercollegiate athletics. The campaign ended three years later with more than $125 million raised and that figure has now grown to over $500 million as funds continue to be raised for facility improvements and scholarship endowments.
Hired on April 30, 1998, Castiglione joined the Sooner family after serving as athletics director at Missouri. In his 17-year career with the Tigers, Castiglione, who was named MU athletics director on Dec. 15, 1993, was credited with rebuilding sports programs, hiring outstanding coaches, implementing an innovative master plan for facilities, inspiring record-setting increases in fund-raising and balancing the budget in each of his five years as AD.
A 1979 Maryland graduate, Castiglione received the University's Distinguished Alumnus Award in April 2007 and he was inducted into the State of Missouri's Sports Hall of Fame in November 2015. His career journey began as the sports promotions director at Rice. He then worked a year as director of athletic fund-raising at Georgetown before being hired in 1981 at Missouri as director of communications and marketing. He will mark his 26th year of serving student-athletes as an athletics director at two different institutions in the 2018-19 academic year.
His commitment to the success of student-athletes has gone beyond the Norman campus and he has served at the national and conference level. He was named to the College Football Playoff Committee in January 2018, making him the only person to serve on that committee as well as the men's basketball and baseball committees. He is currently serving on the NCAA's Board of Governor's Commission to Combat Sexual Violence on Campus. He served as chairman of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee for the 2015-16 academic year. He served a fouryear term on the NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet and the NCAA Baseball Committee. He also chaired the NCAA's Football Academic Progress Rate (APR) Working Group and completed service on the NCAA Working Group on Collegiate Model-Rules Committee. He also serves on the Gatorade Collegiate Advisory Board and the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
He served three terms as the chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors and is a past president of both the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and NACDA. He was also a member on the NCAA Diversity Leadership Strategic Planning Committee, the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Discussion Group, the United States Olympic Committee Athlete Career and Education Strategic Working Group and the NCAA Football Issues Committee, which he chaired. In November 2011, his hometown recognized him by selecting him for the Broward County (Fla.) Sports Hall of Fame.
His involvement in the local community has led to service with civic clubs, churches and charities, including the United Way of Norman, recently serving his third term as OU's campus co-chair, which resulted in the highest recorded contributions ever by faculty, staff and students to the United Way of Norman's annual campaign. He encourages student-athletes and athletics staff to participate in those efforts as well.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Castiglione is married to the former Kristen Bartel, a 1990 graduate of the University of Missouri. They are the parents of two sons, Joseph, Jr., who is a redshirt junior at OU, and Jonathan, who is a senior in high school.