North Carolina native brings over 10 years of fundraising experience to Ohio
Jim Schaus was named Ohio Director of Athletics on April 7, 2008 by former Ohio University President Dr. Roderick McDavis. Now entering his 10th year leading the Bobcats, he has ushered Ohio Athletics into unprecedented levels of championship success, academic excellence and national prominence.
Schaus has established the most consistent athletic program in the Mid-American Conference, with Ohio Football and Ohio Men’s Basketball both participating in the postseason for seven out of the last eight seasons. Over the last three seasons, Ohio Volleyball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball and Softball have all captured Mid-American Conference titles.
In his time at Ohio, Bobcat Football has ascended to become one of the nation’s most recognizable programs. The Bobcats earned MAC East Division Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2016, earning the program’s first bowl championships in 2011 and 2012. During Schaus’ tenure, Ohio has notched several landmark victories – including wins over Penn State (2012), Kansas (2016), four wins over regional rival Marshall and an 8-1 record vs. archrival Miami.
Ohio Men’s Basketball has also experienced tremendous success, earning MAC Championships in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Bobcats participated in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2012, earning victories both years. The 2012 team advanced to the Sweet 16, knocking off Michigan and South Florida en route to an overtime loss vs. #1 seed North Carolina. The Bobcats have earned six 20-win seasons during Schaus’ tenure at Ohio, and have advanced to the postseason under three different head coaches.
Schaus’ track record of success has extended throughout Ohio’s sport programs. Ohio Women’s Basketball has experienced its best years in program history – including two MAC Championships (2015, 2016), an NCAA Tournament appearance and the program’s first WNIT appearance. Ohio Volleyball has won seven MAC Championships and appeared in five NCAA Championships under the direction of two different head coaches. In addition, Ohio Baseball (2015) and Ohio Softball (2014) both earned MAC titles for the first time in over 15 seasons.
While Ohio student-athletes have been succeeding in competition, they have also been excelling in the classroom at levels rarely seen in Division I athletics. Ohio boasts an impressive Graduation Success Rate of over 83%, several percentage points above the general Ohio University student population. Bobcat student-athletes have an accumulative GPA over 3.2, with over 300 student-athletes typically posting over a 3.0 GPA each semester. Every Ohio sport has an Academic Progress Rate of 960 or above, significantly exceeding the NCAA standards required.
In support of this academic and athletic excellence, Schaus has been at the forefront of increasing revenue and balancing the Ohio Athletics budget. He inherited a $2.3 million budget shortfall, which has been transformed into a balanced budget for each of the last nine seasons. During the 2015-2016 season, record revenues were generated in ticket sales, fundraising, corporate sponsorships, licensing and concessions sales. Ohio’s self-generated revenues have continued to hit record levels throughout Schaus’ tenure.
These revenue increases have assisted Schaus in driving some of the most ambitious facility projects in Ohio history. He spearheaded the completion of the 90,000 square foot Walter Fieldhouse – which offers a climate-controlled environment for outdoor sports to practice, while also providing opportunities for use by thousands of Ohio University students. He also led fundraising efforts for the new Sook Academic Center, which will open in 2018 and will more than double the space dedicated to student-athlete academic services. Locker room renovations have been completed for football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball, as well as extensive training room renovations at Peden Stadium and the Convocation Center.
At no point in Ohio history has interest and attendance been higher among fans, students and alumni. Ohio has become the standard-bearer for attendance in the Mid-American Conference, leading in overall home attendance for the last four seasons. The Bobcats have consistently led the MAC in football, men’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball attendance, with Ohio Volleyball’s attendance ranking in the top 20 nationally. Schaus has also been a part of significantly increasing student attendance at home events – which has grown over 68% since 2011.
Perhaps most importantly, Schaus has led a department with a strong commitment to integrity. Ohio is one of just 17 Division I programs that have never been cited for a major NCAA violation. In addition, Schaus has earned a reputation as a leader within the NCAA, serving on several major committees during his time as an athletic director. Currently, he sits on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.
Prior to his time at Ohio, Schaus served as Director of Athletics at Wichita State University from 1999-2008, where he transformed Wichita State into the preeminent program of the Missouri Valley Conference and nationally. He orchestrated the fundraising and construction of Charles Koch Arena and all support facilities. All time revenues were achieved for the department during his tenure.
The many athletic successes included a transformation of the men’s basketball program including a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and hiring of successful coaches. In addition, he guided four-straight Missouri Valley all-sports trophies during his tenure. For his leadership and vision, he was named the Division I Central Region AstroTurf AD of the Year at the 2007 NACDA convention.
Schaus came to Wichita State with an impressive background in athletics administration with stints at Oregon, Cincinnati, Texas-El Paso and Northern Illinois. Known for his excellent communication skills, attention to detail and team-building skills, Schaus has spent over 30 years in athletics administration, with a substantial emphasis in external relations and internal management. In 1982, Schaus worked as an intern for the NFL's New England Patriots, and after graduation worked as a publicity assistant for the LPGA Tour before serving as the Director of Marketing for the Washington Redskins.
Schaus came from an athletics family with his father, Fred, serving as athletic director at West Virginia University and head basketball coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, West Virginia and Purdue during his career.
In 1987, Schaus received his master's degree in Athletics Administration from West Virginia University and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus by the university. In 1983, Schaus earned his bachelor's degree from Purdue University.
Jim and his wife Priscilla have been married for over 30 years and have three grown children, Kevin, Diane and Laura.