By Bob DiCesare
Simon Gray, a ninth-year athletic administrator at Eastern Kentucky, was introduced as the new athletic director at Niagara during a news conference this morning at the university.
Gray, a Pittsburgh native, became EKUs senior associate athletic director in 2011, according to his biography on the school Web site. It says that he served as senior administrator for men's and women's basketball while also acting in a variety of other capacities.
"We are very excited to welcome Simon Gray to Niagara University to lead the Purple Eagles," Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., university president, said in a news release. "His experience as an athletic administrator and his commitment to the university's mission will be critical elements in the continued success of our athletic department. He will be a great asset to our student-athletes, and our entire athletic department, and his positive impact will be felt in the Western New York community and beyond."
Steve Butler had served as Niagara's interim AD since Tom Crowley was removed from the post in September of 2013 after just 11 months on the job. Niagara named Chris Casey to replace the departed Joe Mihalich as basketball coach during Crowley's tenure, but it's unclear whether Crowley played a significant role in that hiring. Crowley has since been hired as special assistant to the commissioner in the Horizon League.
Butler was promoted to interim AD from his role of Associate AD for External Relations. Butler has been at Niagara since May of 2009.
Gray graduated from Richmond in 1998, according to his EKU bio, and worked in media relations at Boston College and East Tennessee State before becoming director of athletic public relations at Richmond. He joined EKU's athletic administration four years later and earned a master's degree in sports administration in 2010.
"Niagara University has such a strong history of athletic achievement." Gray said in the release announcing his appointment. "I am thrilled to be coming to NU and I look forward to being a part in the continued success of the Purple Eagles. This is a great opportunity and I look forward to working with people on campus, and in the local and regional communities, to spread the great name of Niagara athletics."
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