Denison University Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, Nan Carney-DeBord announced that Mike Hills, a 24-year veteran of the college, has been named the first-ever Director of the Varsity D Association. This is a newly created position that will oversee the athletic department's official alumni organization.
Hills assumed his new role in athletics in July of 2018 after spending his entire Denison career in admissions. Since 2015, Hills has served as Denison's Director of Admissions, helping raise the college's visibility and academic profile while setting record numbers in total applicants.
Hills is no stranger to Denison athletics. Prior to assuming the director of admissions role in 2015, Hills served as the athletic department liaison to the admissions office where he worked hand-in-hand with the coaching staff in the recruitment efforts of Denison student-athletes.
"Alumni and family engagement is one of our top priorities as an athletics department," noted Carney-DeBord. "Mike Hills understands the vision for athletics and will be a strong leader in cultivating relationships of our former athletes in addition to engaging the parents and families of our current student-athletes. We are thrilled with the knowledge, awareness, and leadership he will bring to our department."
"As a longtime fan of Denison athletics, I am incredibly honored to be selected to serve as Denison's first Director of the Varsity D Association," said Hills. As a former Division III athlete, I fully understand the positive impact athletics can have on the overall college experience. I am eager to build upon the many successes we have experienced with Big Red athletics over the years and look forward to engaging and building even stronger relationships with our passionate base of alumni and parents."
Prior to his time at Denison, Hills served as the assistant director of admissions at Hartwick College form 1987-90. He spent one year as an admissions representative at Harvard University in 1991 before returning to Hartwick as the associate director of admissions. Hills continued in that role until joining the Denison admissions staff in 1994. Hills graduated magna cum laude from Hartwick in 1987 with a bachelor's in sociology and was a four-year member of the men's tennis team. He received his master's degree in higher education from Harvard University in 1991.
The Varsity D Association has undergone a facelift in recent years under current president Rich Seils '67 with the addition of individual sports representatives working closely with the head coaches of Denison's 23 varsity sports offerings. The mission of the Varsity D Association is to provide support while promoting and enhancing the overall athletic experience for our varsity student-athletes. It represents a passionate community that values academic and athletic excellence while supporting the mission and goals of the University.
Seils believes the creation of this full-time position is a positive step forward for Denison and the future success of its athletic programs.
"Alumni interest is at an all-time high," said Seils. "Our coaches are enthusiastic about alumni involvement and each of our 23 varsity teams have had sponsored alumni activities over the past two years. In a very short period of time, the sheer volume of activities and requests has exceeded the Varsity D Association's ability to effectively support our programs. Having Mike Hills as our new director will extend our reach to new levels while providing numerous new opportunities for our alumni stay engaged in Denison Big Red athletics."
Denison University boasts one of the premier Division III athletic departments in the nation. Having won a record 16 North Coast Athletic Conference All-Sports Championships, five NCAA Division III National Championships, and 142 conference championships since 1984-85, Big Red student-athletes are put in a position to excel academically, athletically and socially through a foundation of elite mentors who care deeply about their student's overall experience and development.