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Dennis McDonald has led the university's athletics department since 2015.
SBJ file
Dennis McDonald has led the university's athletics department since 2015.

Evangel athletic director to exit role

Posted online

Evangel University announced its athletic director is exiting his role.

Dennis McDonald's last day in the position times with the final day of the fall semester on Dec. 9, said Erin Hedlun, Evangel senior director of marketing and communications.

Hedlun said McDonald, 61, is not retiring but rather "exploring other opportunities."

"He is looking at possibly returning to classroom instruction," Hedlun said via email.

McDonald has been Evangel's athletic director – the fifth in university history – since 2015. A news release from the school indicates he will be spending time with family and on a farm that's newly purchased with his wife, Shannon.

At Evangel, McDonald is credited with overseeing the recent transition to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference this fall from the Heart of America Athletic Conference. In its inaugural season, the Evangel Valor football team went undefeated and were named conference champions.

"Dennis McDonald laid a foundation, and we are poised to continue to use athletics to shape Christian men and women for a lifetime of championships,” said Mike Rakes, Evangel president, in the release. "Dennis hired many of our current coaches and saw our student athlete overall GPA rise throughout his tenure. He also played a role in the early fundraising stages for EU’s new athletic arena and fieldhouse Valor Center, a campaign prompted by a $10 million gift from the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and Mardel.”

Jon Spence, chief academic officer and vice president for Evangel, is taking on the interim athletic director role amid a national search, school officials say.

The salary range for the Evangel athletic director role is "commensurate with other similar universities," Hedlun said, declining to disclose figures.

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