Hinrichs was associate AD at Kansas

Updated: August 23, 2004, 9:21 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Northern Colorado filled its athletic director vacancy Monday by hiring Jay Hinrichs, an associate athletic director at Kansas.

"It's a very exciting challenge," Hinrichs told a booster group at Coors Field. "Taking a school from Division II to Division I is a great opportunity."

The hiring of Hinrichs, who was director of facilities planning at Kansas, is effective Aug. 30. No terms of the contract were revealed.

Before coming to Kansas, Hinrichs served as assistant general manager of the Kansas City Royals and later as the team's vice president for ballpark operations and development.

He replaces Jim Fallis, who stepped down on May 1 to assume a similar position at Northern Arizona.

"I think we can make a lot of impact if we do things slowly and do things the right way and try to make an immediate impact for UNC athletics," Hinrichs said.

Hinrichs, 46, was selected from more than 80 candidates by a 16-member selection committee headed by Ken McConnellogue.

"We have real fine people in our department and we need someone who is going to help our people believe in themselves and who is going to elevate the entire program," McConnellogue said. "We are on the cusp and I think his leadership potential is going to get us over the hump."

One of Hinrichs' early orders of business is to look into the possibility of joining the Big Sky Conference. UNC became an original member of the football-only Great West Football Conference on Feb. 25, but the Big Sky has expressed interest in considering UNC in its next expansion.

"Any information regarding a conference as we move forward needs to be digested quickly because we have to be pro active in the process," Hinrichs said. "Remember, there are a lot of schools looking for conferences at this point in time."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press