UND Athletic Director Brian Faison Retiring on Dec. 31

Faison oversaw 14 regular-season conference titles and a men's hockey national championship in his 10 years as A.D.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — There are only two-and-a-half months left in the Brian Faison era of UND athletics.

Tuesday morning, Faison announced his plan to retire as Athletic Director at the end of the year.

Ten years ago when he took over as the A.D. the athletics department looked very different.

14 regular-season conference title banners now hang at UND that weren’t there when he started. Plus, all sports compete at the Division-I level.

But there have been hardships along the way.

“I think cutting programs was the hardest,” Faison said. “You don’t want to take away competitive opportunities for young people and you’ve got coaches and assistant coaches and support staff. That was probably – the was the hardest decision.”

Amidst budget cuts, UND eliminated baseball, swimming & diving and women’s hockey within the last 18 months.

That isn’t the only controversy Faison has had to deal with, who was part of the decision to change the mascot from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks.

“At the end of the day, we’ve gotten done what we needed to do,” Faison said. “Sometimes it was hard, and there were some things you wish we didn’t have to do, but we did.”

University President Mark Kennedy says those difficult decisions are overshadowed by what Faison was able to accomplish.

“The Athletic Department at the University of North Dakota is immeasurably better based on the decade of service — excellent service — and leadership that Brian Faison has provided.”

In March, Faison was named the National FCS Athletic Director of the Year.

UND then went on to win the Big Sky Conference’s President’s Cup, which is awarded to the school whose student athletes have the most success with athletics and academics.

“To me, at the end of the day, the President’s Cup is the epitome of everything, because it’s all about academic accomplishment and athletic accomplishment,” Faison said.

Kennedy agrees.

“You not only have somebody that’s focusing on great teams in the field of competition, but nurturing great individuals that will go on and succeed at life,” he said.

Faison were serve an advisory role from January 1 until June 30 of 2018.

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