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APSU Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison announces staff changes

 

Austin Peay State University Sports - APSU - Governors - Lady GovsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison announced Thursday a reorganization of his executive staff, with eight staff members gaining new responsibilities and a new hire to lead the department’s growing relationship with ESPN+.

“The organizational restructuring allows us to maximize our opportunities to not only grow our department but also grow these great leaders professionally,” said Harrison. “The addition of Joni, Chris, and Cody to our executive staff further demonstrates our commitment to the student-athlete experience by including individuals who work daily with our most treasured constituents – Governors student-athletes.

Austin Peay State University Sports. (APSU Sports Information)

“Lisa, Sara, Tim, Katie, and Colby are key members of our athletics department and instrumental in its success. Each of them believes in and promotes the ‘Total Gov Concept.’ They have truly earned their title changes and in some cases increased responsibilities on our staff.”

Harrison elevated Lisa Varytimidis to Deputy Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator. Hired in June 2018 as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics overseeing all internal operations, she will continue to manage all aspects of the Austin Peay student-athlete experience and compliance and athletics’ Title IX coordinator. The NCAA recently named Varytimidis to the Division I Women’s Soccer Committee, with a term running until 2024

Sara Robson, who moved onto the athletics executive staff in July 2019 after serving as the head women’s golf coach since 2004, becomes the department’s Senior Associate Director of Athletics over Internal Operations. In her role, she is responsible for the department’s facility scheduling and human resources management. She also serves as the department liaison for Ohio Valley Conference championship and NCAA tournament events hosted by APSU. Robson oversaw the on-site administration of both the OVC’s volleyball championship in 2017 and 2018, the OVC cross-country championship this March and the Governors’ first-round contest, and the 2019 NCAA Division I Football Championship.

Tim Knavel, who was an assistant athletics director since joining Austin Peay State University in January 2020, moves up to Associate Director of Athletics and retains his role as Chief Financial Officer.

Katie Ethridge is Associate Director of Athletics after joining the executive staff in January 2019 and oversees the department’s Student-Athlete Success unit. Under her leadership, APSU student-athletes have posted a 3.0 grade-point average in six consecutive semesters. The NCAA named Ethridge to the Division I Progress Toward Degree Waivers Committee, with a term beginning September 1st, 2021

Cody Bush joins the athletics executive staff as Assistant Director of Athletics for Strategic Communications and Branding. As Director of Athletics Communications for the past two years, he led the department’s effort to incorporate ESPN+ broadcasting efforts within the department, with the immediate effect of strengthening the Governors’ brand and opportunity to reach APSU supporters worldwide.

 

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Also, Harrison named Colby Wilson to the Director of Athletics Communications, taking the position vacated by Bush. He has been instrumental in the department’s push into new multimedia offerings through the development of the PeayCast – an APSU athletics-centric podcast – along with two additional podcasts to promote Governors student-athletes opportunities.

Joni Johnson, the department’s sports medicine unit director, moves onto the athletics executive staff as Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine. Johnson, who has been a member of the Austin Peay State University staff since 1991, spearheaded the athletics department’s response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Also, she has served on university and state committees coordinating those committees’ respective responses to the pandemic.

Chris Campbell also joins the executive staff as Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Performance. Since joining the department in 2019, he has overseen the department’s efforts to improve its sports performance and sports nutrition areas.

In addition to those responsibility changes, Harrison announced the hiring of Joe Palmer to lead the department’s newly established video production unit, which provides departmental content for ESPN+. A graduate of APSU’s Department of Communication, Palmer worked with that department to coordinate ESPN+ content. In addition to delivering ESPN+ content, Palmer will oversee the department’s resource utilization to extend its coverage to other sports and beyond game coverage.

“I am thrilled to have Joe join our staff,” said Harrison. “The opportunities ESPN+ provides to expand the vision of Austin Peay athletics is incalculable. I believe having a skilled individual dedicated full time to building our brand through that platform will bring value to all our programs.”


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