Indiana State Names Nathan Christensen As Next Director Of Athletics

Jun 20, 2024

TERRE HAUTE, IN – Indiana State University President Mike Godard has selected Nathan Christensen as the Sycamores’ new Director of Athletics. Christensen will join Indiana State after serving as Senior Associate Athletic Director of Development at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, SD, since 2021. He will start on July 1, 2024.

CSA is honored to have assisted President Godard and the Search Committee on this crucial Sycamores search.

“I knew when accepting the presidency that naming an athletic director would be a priority. In addition to Nathan’s extensive professional experience in intercollegiate athletics, I was impressed by his values and mission-based approach to support our student-athletes,” President Godard said. “His emphasis on community engagement aligns well with Indiana State’s mission. I am confident Nathan will help usher in a new era of Sycamore Athletics, engaging our students, alumni, community, fans, and donors.”

As Indiana State’s director of athletics, Christensen will lead Indiana State’s athletic staff and act as a member of the President’s cabinet, being a partner on campus for athletics and academics. He will oversee athletic programs competing in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC), and the NCAA. He will also work with community members, donors, and alumni to continue building the “Crossroad of Champions” program, empowering student-athletes in their name, image, and likeness (NIL) exposure and opportunities.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as the next Director of Athletics at Indiana State University. I am grateful to President Godard and the search committee for entrusting me with this opportunity to lead Sycamore Athletics,” Christensen said. 

Christensen joined SDSU in August of 2021. He oversaw multiple administrative units and sports, including the annual fund, capital projects, endowed scholarships, special events, and the ticket office. He was also the sports administrator for women’s soccer and the track and field & cross-country programs. Notably, he secured the first-ever endowed Head Coach position at the university – a track and field coach – one of only eleven such positions nationwide. In 2021, SDSU reached a fundraising record, raising over $42 million from more than 4,100 donors.

“I look forward to working in alignment with university leadership, campus partners, and my colleagues as we strive for excellence across the board to create an incredible experience for our student-athletes!” Christensen said.

South Dakota State University Director of Athletics Justin Sell shared, “Nathan is a rising star in our profession who brings a positive approach and high energy every day. He is a tremendous revenue generator and the people who support Indiana State are going to enjoy getting to know him. He will build a culture of investing in others and creating pride in being part of something bigger than oneself. I’m excited to see what lies ahead!”

Before his appointment at SDSU, Christensen served at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) as Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs from May 2018 to August 2021 and as Assistant Athletics Director for Development and Director of the Panther Scholarship Club from December 2016 to May 2018. At UNI, he raised over $10.2 million for athletics scholarships. From 2008 to 2016, Christensen worked at Minnesota State University, Mankato, acting as Assistant Athletic Director for External Operations and Director of Marketing and Sales for Athletics.

David Harris, Director of Athletics at Tulane University, who hired Christensen at UNI, shared, “Nathan has been a rising star in our industry for quite some time. I hired him back in 2016 to oversee the annual fund at the University of Northern Iowa. From the beginning, Nathan impressed me with his work ethic, leadership, and ability to build relationships. We set a record in annual fund dollars raised during his tenure. We then promoted him to run our entire external operation, and his work was phenomenal. This is a well-deserved opportunity for him to be an athletics director and to show his full skill set as an administrator, problem solver, leader, and visionary. I’m very proud of Nathan, and I know he will do a great job. He, his wife Kalli, and his kids Eleanor and Kelby will be a great first family for ISU Athletics. “

Christina Roybal, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Northern Kentucky University and a former colleague of Christensen, shared, “This is a fantastic opportunity for Nathan, and I am excited for him and Indiana State. Nathan is driven, and he’ll work to bring new fans and donors to the program and unite them with existing supporters to assist coaches and staff in providing student-athletes with the best collegiate athletics experience possible. Congratulations, Nathan.”

Christensen is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a Master’s in Sports Management and a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management.

Christensen and his wife, Kalli, are the parents of two children, Eleanor and Kelby, and will be relocating to Terre Haute.

President Godard also expressed his appreciation to Angie Lansing, interim director of athletics. “Angie is a tried-and-true Sycamore, and I appreciate her willingness to step in and act as Interim Director of Athletics for a second time. Her commitment to our student-athletes and dedication to Indiana State make her an invaluable asset during this transition.”

For the full release from Indiana State Athletics, click HERE.

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