Following a nationwide search, Ira Childress has been named Gulliver's next Athletic Director as was announced on January 22, 2019.
In a field of exceptionally qualified applicants, Ira stood out for his creativity and innovation with a driving focus on the total student-athlete experience.
He joins Gulliver from Okemos High School (Okemos, MI) where he has served as Athletic Director for the past six years, leading all aspects of the athletic department including the direction and supervision of over 700 student-athletes across 27 sports, and more than 40 coaches. During his tenure, nearly 100 Okemos student-athletes have gone on to compete at the collegiate level, and overall, the school's athletic teams have amassed 55 league titles, 16 district titles, 23 regional titles, six state runner-up finishes, and two state championships. Ira was instrumental in updating athletic facilities at Okemos and will play a critical role at Gulliver as the school enhances its athletic facilities.
Prior to his tenure at Okemos, Ira served as Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Leadership Development for the NCAA where he managed the NCAA Minority Coaches Academy and created professional and personal development programs for student-athletes, administrators and coaches through the NCAA Student-Athlete Affairs Department. A football standout and double graduate of Ferris State University (Big Rapids, MI) with a bachelor's degree in applied speech communication and a masters degree in education, Ira previously held several positions of increasing responsibility at his alma mater from 2003-08, including work that spanned governmental relations, alumni relations and annual giving and advancement services.
Members of the Gulliver community who met with Ira noted his strong passion for developing student-athletes, and that his values are clearly aligned with those of Gulliver and our mission. His focus will be to enhance the student-athlete experience and align the athletic department around a shared vision and purpose. As a remarkable leader, innovator and student advocate, he will play a significant role on Gulliver's administrative leadership team.
Ira will begin as Gulliver's Athletic Director on July 1, and he will have opportunities to be on campus before that time to begin the transition process.
"I am very thankful and excited for the opportunity to become the next Athletic Director at Gulliver," Ira said. "This is a strong community with a passion for excellence that resonates deeply with me. My focus will be ensuring all of our student-athletes continue to have an amazing experience while competing at the highest level in their sport and in the classroom. I look forward to getting started and to becoming part of the Gulliver family."