Stony Brook (N.Y.) associate director of athletics Matt Larsen has been named North Dakota State’s new athletic director, NDSU President Dean Bresciani announced at a Monday press conference.
Larsen has been in his role since 2010 and has worked in four director roles at Stony Brook since 2004.
Larsen has a master’s in athletic and business administration. He supervised football, basketball, among other sports at Stony Brook. He also was a graduate assistant coach and academic All-American as a college athlete.
Bresciani said Larsen took part in community service and many other university activities.
“He knows our program inside and out as well and demonstrated that during the interview process,” Bresciani said. “He’s well-known in NCAA and Division I circles and has a reputation for integrity and ethics that is beyond reproach.”
The list of candidates to replace Gene Taylor, who led NDSU to becoming a Division I program before leaving to become Iowa’s deputy athletic director in June, was narrowed to a list of three other candidates, including NDSU senior associate athletic director Troy Goergen, St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.) athletic director Steve Watson and Colorado State senior associate athletic director David Crum.
“They all came from different backgrounds,” Bresciani said. “They would’ve all come into the job very prepared, and I believe each one of them would’ve been very successful as the leader of our athletic program.”
When he looked at the resumes Sunday afternoon, Bresciani said Larsen’s resume stuck out to him most. Bresciani said the search committee consisting of faculty and student-athletes were in consensus agreement, even though there were a variety of differing individual opinions.
“When I looked at that resume, it was hard to imagine what he hasn’t done and what he wouldn’t bring to the role at NDSU,” Bresciani said.
Recently retired NDSU vice president of student affairs Prakash Mathew served as interim athletic director as the search went on.
Bison head football coach Chris Klieman said Mathew’s service played an important role in keeping the athletic department stable. In 2014, the NDSU athletic department hired three new head coaches and transferred to a temporary office off campus.
“He did everything in the best well-being of the student-athletes,” Klieman said. “I couldn’t have been more pleased with the progress we made as an athletic department leading up to Dean’s announcement today.”
Bresciani said his goal was to hire a new athletic director before the opening game of the football season. This hire came four weeks after the Bison defeated FBS opponent Iowa State 34-14 in its season opener.
NDSU basketball head coach Dave Richman said he was happy a candidate was hired so he can work on developing a working relationship with the new AD.
“There’s a sense of relief from that standpoint, and I look forward to working with somebody new,” Richman said. “There’s going to be some adjustments, and somebody new you’re going to have to get to know on a different level. I’m excited for the initial few days, but more so the next six months and year just to see where we go.”
Stony Brook has gone 37-26 since 2009 playing in the Colonial Athletic Conference in the FCS. Bresciani said having a candidate with a good football history wasn’t a necessity but was a plus.
“Football is core to what we do here, what we accomplish here and what brings national attention to all of our athletic programs,” Bresciani said. “It certainly wasn’t a decision point, but having a good football background certainly was a bonus.”
Bresciani said Larsen knew more than he did about the Bison athletic department, which also stood out during interviews.
“He was rattling off details and statistics that I had to page through a book and say, ‘I’ll be darned, you’re right,’” Bresciani said. “This was an exceptionally studied candidate.”
The search committee was to find someone with solid overall qualifications, Bresciani said. He said two points of emphasis were finding someone who not only wanted to maintain the success NDSU has had, but also find ways to improve the athletic department.
“We lost an exceptional athletic director and leader in Gene, but I want someone who is going to continue our success in all fronts,” Bresciani said. “Not just on the field, not just in the back office, but across all fronts that we’re experiencing success right now.”