Michael Cusack guided the Wright State athletic department through a period of great change, helping oversee the program’s move from Division II to Division I during his 26-year tenure.
Since his retirement in 2008, Cusack has been teaching a graduate course in sports management at Wright State, and he’ll continue to do that once a week in his new role as interim athletic director at Northern Kentucky University.
Cusack, 69, was named to that new position on Monday, and his effective starting date is April 15. He expects to have the job for about three months while Northern Kentucky conducts a search for a replacement for Scott Eaton, who was fired March 18.
Cusack, who lives in Beavercreek, said Northern Kentucky approached him two weeks ago about the job.
“The president (Geoffrey S. Mearns) indicated he wanted to get somebody quickly,” Cusack said, “and they felt my background would fit well. We moved to Division I while I was (at Wright State), and Northern Kentucky has been very similar to us.”
Northern Kentucky is in the midst of its first full year of competing in Division I in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but most of its sports teams won’t be eligible for postseason competition until the 2016-17 school year.
“It’s a sign of the changing times they were able to get into a conference right away,” Cusack said. “When we went to Division I, there weren’t so many options. The geographic footprint was important. We wouldn’t have considered something so far away. We battled it out as an independent for a few years.”
Cusack sees a number of similarities between Northern Kentucky now and Wright State in 1987, its first season in Division I.
“It’s got a lot of potential, just like we did,” he said. “I said, ‘If this were 30 years ago, this would be a great job,’ but 30 years ago, I had a great job. Northern Kentucky has very good facilities. They have a nice campus. They’re really a part of the Cincinnati community.”