Utah State Names Diana Sabau Next VP & Director of Athletics

Aug 8, 2023

LOGAN, UT – Utah State University President Elizabeth Cantwell has recruited Diana Sabau as the next vice president and director of USU Athletics after a national search. Sabau will start at USU on Aug. 21.

CSA is grateful to have assisted President Cantwell and Search Committee Chair Brian Steed on this exciting Aggies search.

“I’m thrilled Diana will join the Aggie family at the helm of USU Athletics. She is perfect for this moment and for elevating Aggie Athletics to the next level,” Cantwell said.

Sabau comes to USU with an important and impactful background, most recently serving as deputy commissioner and chief sports officer for the Big Ten Conference, overseeing the administration of all 28 of the conference’s sponsored sports. As the chief sports officer with the Big Ten Conference, Sabau provides swift counsel and measured guidance to the Big Ten commissioner and departmental oversight of football administration, basketball administration, hockey administration, Olympic sports administration and officiating administration.

Sabau thanked Cantwell and the search committee in a statement.

“I am humbled by this tremendous opportunity to lead Utah State Athletics and I am so grateful to President Cantwell for her belief and confidence in me as well as to the members of the search committee,” Sabau said. “I am energized to serve our Aggie student-athletes, coaches, staff, university, alumni, donors and the Logan community. We will compete for championships with integrity and we will build on the current momentum of Utah State Athletics.”

Sabau has also had extensive leadership roles in college athletics prior to joining the Big Ten, most recently as senior deputy athletics director at The Ohio State University. There, she served as sport administrator for football, women’s ice hockey, and the co-ed rifle and pistol programs. During her four years as sport administrator for The Ohio State University football, the team won four consecutive Big Ten championships, participated in the college football playoffs, and garnered accolades and achievements of considerable national attention.

“From understanding campus culture to conference realignment to what it takes to win, Diana is a skilled and experienced professional, and I feel very lucky that we have been able to recruit her,” Cantwell said. “I know that all Aggies are deeply passionate about our athletic programs, as am I. Many fans have been looking forward to an announcement, and I am so proud that who we are and what we represent has attracted someone like Diana. Throughout our recruitment process, we have run a search dedicated to professionalism, fairness and thoughtfulness. We very carefully considered each candidate’s leadership abilities, experience, proven track record, appreciation for who we are at USU and ability to lead us into a future that all Aggies will be proud of. Diana clearly exemplifies these qualities.”

Gloria Nevarez, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, offered her thoughts about USU’s new athletic director, whom she has known for some time.

“Congratulations to President Cantwell and Utah State on recruiting Diana Sabau as their vice president and director of athletics,” Nevarez said. “She is an outstanding communicator, innovator, team player and above all else the consummate servant leader. A terrific hire for USU and the Mountain West.”

Tony Petitti, commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, also congratulated Utah State on hiring Sabau.

“On behalf of the entire Big Ten Conference, I want to congratulate Diana on her new role at Utah State University,” Petitti said. “Diana is a team player who has built strong relationships both internally and externally throughout her career. She places the student-athlete experience at the center of everything she does, which is one of many reasons she was able to immediately impact the success of multiple Big Ten championships and events. Although we will miss her at the Big Ten, we wish her every continued success in her new role.”

Sabau has a master’s in sports administration from Ohio University, a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, and she attended Oxford University, Somerville College. Sabau and her husband, Jamie, have two children.

The university worked with search firm Collegiate Sports Associates Executive Search & Consulting to collect applications and vet candidates.

“There was enormous interest in this position, and we were all very impressed by the depth of the candidate pool,” said Brian Steed, a member of the president’s executive team who chaired the search committee. “That really speaks volumes about the strength of USU Athletics.”

In addition to Brian Steed, the search committee included Jacey Skinner, chair of the USU Board of Trustees; Steve Palmer, former USU Alumni Board chair and member of the USU Board of Trustees; Stan Albrecht, former USU president and previous member of the Utah Board of Higher Education; Jim Laub, member of the community and Aggie Athletics supporter; Jontrell Rocquemore, former student-athlete and wellness professional; and Devin Wiser, vice president of Government and Community Relations. Additionally, Matt White, vice president for USU Advancement and James Morton, representing the USU faculty, served as advisory members.

USU’s vice president and director of Athletics reports to the president and is a member of the president’s senior leadership team. This person oversees all aspects of USU’s athletic department. In her new role, Sabau will lead and make decisions regarding personnel, academic and athletic success, budgets, facilities, operations, fundraising, compliance and student-athlete welfare. She will ensure compliance to all regulations governing USU and its employees, as well as those of the NCAA and Mountain West Conference. USU competes in 16 Division I sports programs.

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

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