Rhoades Named 2021 SBJ Athletics Director of the Year

June 23, 2021
Mack Rhoades SBJ AD of the Year
Media Contacts: David Kaye, Baylor Athletic Communications, 254-709-5147, and Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959

WACO, Texas (June 23, 2021) - Baylor University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack B. Rhoades IV has been selected as Sports Business Journal’s 2021 Athletics Director of the Year, announced tonight during the 2021 SBJ Sports Business Awards.

“Mack is most-deserving of this national recognition as Baylor Athletics experienced many successes both inside and outside the classroom during an unprecedented year with COVID-19,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “While we certainly celebrate the wins and championships, Mack and his team have truly embraced Baylor’s unique role in intercollegiate athletics as a Christian research university and our emphasis on intentionally preparing our student-athletes in all aspects of their lives. His dedication and focus will have a lasting impact on generations of Baylor Bears.”

This marks the second Athletics Director of the Year honor earned by Rhoades in as many years. He was chosen as a 2019-20 NACDA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year in March 2020. Rhoades was also one of five finalists for the 2020 SBJ Athletics Director of the Year.

The SBJ Athletics Director of the Year award is given annually to a college or university athletics director who demonstrates excellence on and off the field, innovation, leadership locally and nationally, and vision. Rhoades was selected from a field of five finalists, including Alabama’s Greg Byrne, Pitt’s Heather Lyke, Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick and Virginia’s Carla Williams.

Rhoades completed his fifth year leading Baylor’s department of intercollegiate athletics in 2020-21, culminating in two national championships and six Big 12 Conference titles. The Bears have won six national championships across three sports and 21 Big 12 championships across nine sports during his tenure. Eight of Baylor’s 19 sport programs have earned No. 1 national rankings under Rhoades’ leadership.

Baylor Athletics’ success is guided by Rhoades’ vision of “Preparing Champions for Life,” which is built on four pillars of academic achievement, athletic success, character formation and spiritual growth. Below are 2020-21 highlights for each of the four pillars:

Academic Achievement

  • 94% Graduation Success Rate – highest in Baylor history
  • 3.35 All Athletics Cumulative GPA – highest on record
  • 49% of Student-Athletes achieved Personal Best GPAs
  • 14 Teams Achieved All-Time High GPAs
  • 316 Dean’s List honors earned by Student-Athletes
  • 117 Student-Athletes Graduated

Character Formation

  • 104 Student-Athletes participated in Leadership Retreat, Leadership Institute & Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) with all sports represented.
  • 1,174 Community Engagement hours
  • 120 Character Formation programs
  • 36 Career Development workshops & events
  • 24 Student-Athletes completed internships and job shadows.

Spiritual Growth

  • 30 Student-Athletes participated in iDisciple Program – a peer-to-peer spiritual leadership bootcamp.
  • 19 Student-Athletes served on mission trip in Guatemala.
  • Average of 47 Student-Athlete attendance at BUnfiltered Events – a monthly gathering to build community.

Athletics Success

  • Conference Titles
    • Six Big 12 Championships match the most since 2015 and tied the third-most in school history.
    • Men’s Basketball won the Big 12 title for the first time and claimed Baylor’s first men’s basketball conference championship in 71 years.
    • Women’s Basketball swept Big 12 regular season and tournament championships, extending the streak to seven consecutive and 20 of 21 Big 12 trophies won by Baylor since 2011.
    • Men’s and Women’s Basketball won outright Big 12 Conference titles, becoming the first school to do so since the Big 12’s inaugural season in 1997.
    • Men’s Tennis won Big 12 regular season and tournament championships for first time since 2014.
    • Men’s Golf won Big 12 Match Play Championship for second time in event’s three-year history.
  • National Titles
    • Men’s Basketball won the National Championship for the first time in school history.
    • Baylor became the second team from Texas to win a men’s basketball national title, following the 1966 Glory Road Texas Western team.
    • Acrobatics & Tumbling won its sixth-consecutive NCATA National Championship.
    • Three Track & Field Individual National Champions – Aaliyah Miller (800m), Ackera Nugent (60mh) and KC Lightfoot (Pole Vault).
  • Four No. 1-Ranked Teams
    • Men’s Basketball was ranked No. 1 for the third time in the last five seasons, joining Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas as the only schools to accomplish the feat.
    • Men’s Tennis reached No. 1 for the first time since 2005 after winning the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships.
    • Women’s Golf reached No. 1 for the first time in program history after winning its first five tournaments of the season.
    • Acrobatics & Tumbling finished No. 1 for the sixth-consecutive season.
    • Eight Baylor teams have earned No. 1 national rankings since 2017 – Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Men’s Tennis, Equestrian and Acrobatics & Tumbling.
  • A school-record 10 programs earned top-10 national rankings.
    • Men’s Basketball - 1
    • Women’s Golf - 1
    • Men’s Tennis - 1
    • Acrobatics & Tumbling - 1
    • Volleyball - 2
    • Women’s Basketball - 4
    • Men’s Golf - 6
    • Equestrian - 7
    • Women’s Tennis - 8
    • Women’s Track & Field - 9


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 19,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.