The feasibility study will evaluate the possibility of adding hockey as a varsity sport
Rakijas comes to Oakland from Eastern Michigan
His three-year term will begin on Sept. 1
The Golden Grizzlies earned points by defeating or finishing ahead of Detroit Mercy in 10-of 18 competitions this season
Director of Athletics gives a department update for the Summer.
Director of Athletics, Jeff Konya discusses the current events within the Athletics Department.
Director of Athletics, Jeff Konya, wishes you a Happy 2015
Director of Athletics, Jeff Konya, discusses the latest current events within the Oakland Athletics Dept. in Part 2 of 2.
In part 1 of 2, AD Jeff Konya discusses recent topics about Oakland Athletics.
Jeff Konya has led Oakland University Athletics to unprecedented success over his first three years as Director of Athletics. The Golden Grizzlies won three-straight McCafferty Trophies, given to the Horizon League's all-sports champion, and top 30 finishes in the Learfield Directors' Cup DI-AAA Final Standings. Konya also created the prestigious Black and Gold Awards (#BGAs) to celebreate student-athlete successes, as well as the entire organization at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.
In March 2017 the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) selected Konya as one of Under Armour's Athletic Directors of the Year for 2016-17. NACDA recognizes Athletic Directors for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities.
The Black and Gold tallied a Horizon League-best 46.5 points in the 2016-17 McCafferty Trophy standings, earning Oakland's third-straight title.The Golden Grizzlies finished atop the men's sports standings and second in women's sports standings, becoming the first team since Milwaukee in 2004-06 to win three succeeding McCafferty Trophies. Oakland scored a league-best 62 points in last year's latest McCafferty Trophy championship. The Golden Grizzlies captured eight titles during the 2015-16 year in men's soccer, women's soccer, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's swimming and diving, women's swimming and diving, women's indoor track and field, and women's golf. The Golden Grizzlies captured five titles in 2014-15 en route to scoring 56 points and winning their first-ever all-sports conference title.
Konya set a goal of finishing top 10 in Oakland's NCAA classification when he first arrived on campus on Aug. 1, 2014. Little did he know that the Golden Grizzlies would come close to attaining that in year one, finishing a program-best 18th in the DI-AAA (non-football) Learfield Sports Directors' Cup with 100 points. The Black and Gold followed that up with a 26th-place finish in 2015-16 with 99 points.
The Black and Gold Awards has been a hit with the student-athletes, fans and parents of the Golden Grizzly family. Oakland invited local media, business leaders and university leaders to present awards that range from Athlete of the Year to Best Film, created by the student-athletes. Here is a look at last year's show: 2017 BGAs.
With strategic facility upgrades, including LED lights and high-definition sound in the O'rena, the Golden Grizzlies broke attendance records in men's basketball and finished sixth in the country with a 93 percent increase in home attendance. During a first-ever WHITE out against Valparaiso, Oakland fans set a new attendance record at 4,110. The Black and Gold took that even further against archrival Detroit Mercy with 4,114 in attendnace for the inaugural GOLD out. The Golden Grizzlies also took then-No. 1 Michigan State to overtime in front of a Palace crowd of 20,228. That ESPNU game was the most viewed contest during the 2015-16 season and third-most watched game in ESPNU history as over 600,000 people watched the nationally-televised contest.
Oakland student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom under Konya's leadership team. The Golden Grizzlies have led the Horizon League in Academic All-League and Honor Roll selections over the last eight semesters and earned an organization-best 3.30 grade point average in the winter 2017. The men's basketball team posted its first-ever GPA over a 3.00 in the fall of 2015 to boast one of the nation's top GPAs in Division I.
The Golden Grizzlies added one of the most unique floors in the country, the Blacktop at the O'rena. A Vote for the Court was created on twitter where 10,000 Golden Grizzlies selected the Blacktop and gave Oakland a dynamic court. It was widely considered one of the best floors in the country by USA Today, The Washington Post and was featured on ESPN's His & Hers Show.
Upon arriving at Oakland University, Konya held a brainstorming session with key university constiteunts inside the O'rena. From that session the athletic department identified key strengths and opportunitues and Konya initiated a new branding and marketing campaign called See the Bear, Be the Bear, Wear the Bear. Part of that program is identifying the bear head logo as the primary mark and using that as a major strength. The #WEARtheBEAR campaign has been embraced by students, faculty, staff and alums.
Partnerships have seen a significant increase since Konya's arrival in 2014. In less than 30 days on the job, Konya was able to enhance the partnership with the Oakland University Credit Union (OUCU) to include over a half million dollars over nine years. The Golden Grizzlies then added Crittenton as its health care provider over a five-year period that reaches close to $700,000 and serves as the largest athletics sponsorship in school history.
Fundraising has reached new heights under Konya's direction. The Golden Grizzlies witnessed records in 2015-16, seeing a 63 percent increase in sponsorship, 41 percent increase in donations and 40 percent increase in ticket sales.
Furthering the brand, Konya helped secure a new television contract with local WMYD-TV (20) to televised most of the men's basketball games as well as women's basketball contests. The Golden Grizzlies played 14 combined basketball games on TV20 in 2015-16 and are scheduled to have close to 20 in 2016-17. Oakland also appears on Comcast 900 and have a multi-year contract with WDFN-AM (1130) to produce all men's basketball games on the radio. The Greg Kampe Radio Show also airs on 1130 AM every Wednesday from November to March at the Red Ox Tavern in Auburn Hills.
Another byproduct of the branding campaign is the newly created rivalry with the University of Detroit Mercy. The Metro Series, driven by Trinity Transportation, will see 14 intercollegiate sports that the Golden Grizzlies and Titans compete against each other to produce an annual winner. Konya was able to secure a $10,000 donation from PASS Charters for scholarships to the winning school each year. The Golden Grizzlies has dominated the Metro Series in the first two years, outscoring the Titans 47-15.
The brand awareness did not stop there. The athletic enterprise continued to increase its efforts across all social media platforms and collaborated with Postano to create a Social Media Hub on GoldenGrizzlies.com. This gives fans an opportunity to interact with each other and demonstrate their creativity and school spirit. Oakland redesigned its athletics website and launched this unique, fan friendly site on Nov. 12, 2015.
Prior to becoming AD at Oakland University, Konya served as the AD at Cal State Bakersfield from 2010-14. There he oversaw all operational aspects of an 18-sport NCAA Division I athletics department with an estimated $11 million annual budget, more than 60 coaches and staff, and approximately 350 student-athletes. He executed a strategic plan to gain primary conference memberships in the WAC, which occurred in October 2012, and affiliate memberships prior to that date: men's soccer to the Pac 12, baseball to the WAC, and softball to the WCC. In 2012, CSUB athletics fundraising ranked first nationally when compared to similar public I-AAA institutions, and this fiscal year which concluded on June 30, 2014, CSUB Athletics set all time institutional record highs in scholarship fund dollars raised ($603,000) and overall fundraising (over $2,000,000). Also, he was a member of the NCAA men's soccer selection committee.
Konya is widely recognized as an innovator in athletics marketing. His 2012 CSUB "New Gold Standard" campaign was named a National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) Finalist for the Division I athletics marketing department of the year. It was a campaign that featured his implementation of the "blue basketball court," which is routinely credited as one of the first unique basketball court visual brands in the marketplace and one of the best overall designs.
Konya completed his Juris Doctor with honors in 1998 at the University of Iowa College of Law and his bachelor of arts in 1995 from Princeton University. Previous work experiences include being the athletics director at Northeastern State (OK) and serving in senior athletics leadership capacities at such institutions as SMU, Memphis, Bucknell and UTSA. He was born in Royal Oak, Mich., spent part of his youth living in West Bloomfield, Mich., and is an avid Detroit sports fan.