WILMINGTON – After 26 years leading Wilmington College’s athletics department, Dr. Terry Rupert retired from that role Thursday.
Rupert, who added vice president for athletic administration to his title in 2007, will remain at the college as area coordinator of the sport sciences academic area, until the end of the academic year.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great staff through the years, each of whom are dedicated to serving the college’s student-athletes. I thank them for their tireless efforts and belief in our athletic program,” he said. “Our student-athletes represent the epitome of the NCAA Division III philosophy that athletics can be a key part of a student’s education and set the stage for successful lives.”
Rupert will join Fred Raizk as the clloege’s longest serving athletic directors. He came to Wilmington in 1996, following Dick Scott (1989-96), Bill Ramseyer (1974-89) and Raizk (1950-74) as WC’s ADs over the past seven decades.
Rupert guided the athletics department through several conference affiliations in his early years, including moves into the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1998 and the Ohio Athletic Conference in 2000.
Several facility additions and renovations took place under his watch as well, most noticeably the $10.2 million Center for Sport Sciences, which opened in 2015. Hermann Court, which has hosted eight NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament games along with numerous Ohio Athletic High School Association tournament contests, remains one of the region’s quality facilities. Also, Williams Stadium underwent major improvements with the installation of field turf, lighting and a new scoreboard.
Especially notable athletic achievements under Rupert’s watch include: women’s basketball capturing the 2004 NCAA Division III national championship, the crowning of seven individual national champions, hosting the 2006 and 2014 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, and winning conference titles in men and women’s soccer, men and women’s basketball, and indoor and outdoor men’s track and field. In addition, he led the increasing of varsity sport offerings by adding or reinstating the lacrosse, wrestling, tennis, golf and equestrian programs.
In addition to his direct impact on campus, Rupert served on the NCAA’s Division III Management Council for six years, including chairing the body from 2013 through 2015. That leadership role placed him in the upper echelon of NCAA management as a member of the Board of Governors, which worked closely with NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Indeed, Rupert’s close connections with the NCAA hierarchy resulted in the College becoming one of the few D-III schools selected as a site for the massive Department of Defense concussion study, which has been ongoing since 2016. Additionally, the sport management program is ranked in School.com’s Top 10 Best Colleges for Sports Management Degree Programs in 2018-19 and, several years ago, Best Small Colleges ranked the program No. 1 in its Sport Management Degree Guide.