University Selects Bill Petitt to Lead Athletic Department
July 9, 2014
Bill Petitt has been named athletic director at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Darrelene Rachavong, vice president of student affairs, made the announcement July 1.
Petitt has served as the University's interim athletic director since the retirement of longtime director Chris Gage in February. Petitt joined the UT Dallas athletics staff in January 2008 as the university’s associate athletic director for external affairs.
As the University’s primary athletic development officer, Petitt oversaw a 400 percent growth in external revenue since 2008 and ensured that athletics reached its goal as part of the University’s $200 million Realize the Vision: The Campaign for Tier One & Beyond.
“I want to thank Dr. David Daniel, Dr. Darrelene Rachavong and the entire administration for this opportunity,” Petitt said. “It has been a lifelong goal to become an athletic director. To have the opportunity at a program during a time when the University is experiencing tremendous growth is an incredible opportunity. I will continue building relationships across campus, as well as across the Richardson and North Dallas community. We want to use athletics to spread the word of what a tremendous academic institution we have in UT Dallas.”
“We will continue to put the student-athlete first. Their education and preparation for life is our primary goal. We must prepare them for the next step in their life. Academics will never be compromised. We will expect excellence in the classroom from our student-athletes.”
During Petitt’s tenure at UT Dallas, corporate sponsorships have tripled and the University has seen more than $3 million in athletic facility improvements in the past five years. The Comet Club, the University’s athletic foundation, has doubled in size since 2009 and has grown to more than 500 members.
“This department is on a solid foundation, thanks to the direction of Chris Gage over the last decade,” Petitt said. “My job is to continue to build the program and help the program take the next step. We want to be among the top NCAA Division III programs nationally on a consistent basis. We want to bring conference and national championships to Richardson.”
UT Dallas student-athletes compete in 13 sports in the American Southwest Conference, an NCAA Division III sports league whose members include 12 colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
“We will continue to put the student-athlete first,” Petitt said. “Their education and preparation for life is our primary goal. We must prepare them for the next step in their life. Academics will never be compromised. We will expect excellence in the classroom from our student-athletes.
“There is nothing more gratifying than watching a student walk across the stage with their diploma and their parents shaking your hand for all you have done the past four years to help their child,” he said.