SAN ANTONIO – On August 12, the University of the Incarnate Word announced that Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom had surprisingly left the program after just two years. Richard Duran stepped into the role on an interim basis and now 10 months later, he’s been given the job permanently.
UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans announced via a Zoom press conference on Monday morning that he has officially taken the interim tag off, hiring Mr. Duran as the new Athletic Director.
“As interim athletic director, Richard demonstrated his willingness to work with all campus partners not only for the benefit of the athletics department but for the University as a whole,” said Evans. “He showed us his ability to lead, his dedication to his staff, to our student-athletes and to our UIW Mission. In these last 10 months, Richard Duran truly earned the privilege of being named UIW’s Athletic Director.”
The 31-year-old becomes the youngest Division I AD in the country and takes over at a time with so much unrest among different athletes in pro sports with the Black Lives Matter movement dominating the country’s talking points.
Wickstrom’s sudden departure was never explained by the university, saying the school has a policy against discussing “personnel matters.” Mr. Duran took the helm and ran with it as if he was the permanent A.D. Under his direction, the university’s annual fund program, the Cardinals Club, saw record numbers in both memberships and revenue.
“I am excited to come to work every day and help our student-athletes become champions in the classroom, in the community, and in competition,” Duran said. “I am humbled for this opportunity and thankful for the commitment of our student-athletes, department, campus community, and supporters.”
As UIW prepares to reopen in the fall, Mr. Duran says he is currently working with campus doctors and advisors to help keep the student body safe with COVID-19 pandemic beginning a second wave through San Antonio.
“UIW is an amazing community made up of incredible people, and I look forward to continuing to work as a team to provide the best student-athlete experience possible,” he said.