Northern Michigan University athletic director Forrest Karr leaving for same job at Minnesota-Duluth

Forrest Karr

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University athletic director Forrest Karr is leaving the Wildcats for the same job at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, NMU President Kerri Schuiling announced Wednesday.

Schuiling said Karr’s position at UMD becomes effective Aug. 29, and she hopes to name an interim AD in the near future, according to a news release from NMU Sports Information.

Karr has served as Northern’s director of athletics since 2012, during which time the Wildcats’ number of varsity sports has grown from 12 to 17, adding women’s golf, lacrosse and wrestling, as well as men’s soccer, swimming and diving.

He played a major role in Northern’s transition from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association to the newly developed Central Collegiate Hockey Association. He has also been actively involved in several NCAA committees while working as NMU’s AD.

In addition to Northern’s intercollegiate athletics program, Karr has also overseen the National Training Site programs for Greco-Roman wrestling and weightlifting, along with NMU’s recreational services. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor for the College of Business, teaching courses in business law.

“On behalf of Northern, I want to thank Forrest for all that he’s done to successfully lead Wildcat Athletics over the past 10 years,” Schuiling said. “He always displayed the highest level of integrity and care for Wildcat student-athletes, coaches and team staff. He was a true team player when it came to supporting our university. We wish Forrest and his family all the best in the future.”

NMU will quickly begin a comprehensive national search for the next Director of Athletics.

This is from the Minnesota-Duluth Athletics official release:

“The University of Minnesota Duluth has announced the hiring of Forrest Karr as the new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“In one of his last tasks before retirement, former UMD Chancellor Lynn Black said, ‘We are excited to welcome Forrest to Bulldog Country to lead our athletic programs and outstanding student-athletes. His experiences and values align with the overall mission of UMD and we are confident he will continue the excellence of the Bulldogs in the classroom, in competition, and in the community. We look forward to having Forrest on campus to join the leadership team and help build the next generation of Bulldogs.’

“‘I am grateful to President Gabel, Chancellor McMillan and Chancellor Black, as well as Dr. Steve Castleberry, Karen Stromme and the entire search committee for this incredible opportunity to join Bulldog Country,’ Karr said. ‘UMD is a highly respected university with national championship level success. I look forward to creating value to help UMD coaches and staff pursue their goals, and finding creative ways to provide a high-quality academic and athletic experience for student-athletes.’

“University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said, ‘We welcome Forrest and his family to the UMD leadership team. He brings with him proven success and strong leadership skills, which will contribute to the overall enhancement of the university. My sincere congratulations to Forrest and his family as they join the Bulldog family.’

“Because of UMD’s chancellor transition, President Joan Gabel, recently retired Chancellor Lynn Black and new Interim Chancellor Dave McMillan were all involved in this important hire.

“Karr will oversee the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s athletic department and its 16 NCAA programs (14 at the NCAA Division II level and two at the NCAA Division I level) that have combined to win 10 team national championships, nine individual national titles and six men’s hockey Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners (the most in college hockey).

“During his time at NMU … NMU student-athletes earned 145 All-America honors, 127 Honorable Mention All-America awards, six CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and five individual NCAA championships.

“Since 2021, four NMU teams (women’s volleyball, women’s swimming and diving, men’s skiing, and women’s skiing) have claimed conference championships, and four more teams (men’s hockey, women’s soccer, men’s basketball, and men’s swimming and diving) have finished as conference championship runner-up.

“Karr has also hired many successful coaches at NMU, including Andy Keller (2022 CCSA men’s Nordic ski coach of the year), Mike Lozier (2021 GLIAC volleyball coach of the year), Heidi Voigt (2016 and 2018 GLIAC men’s swimming and diving coach of the year), Grant Potulny (2018 WCHA men’s hockey coach of the year), and Jenny Ryan (2018 GLIAC women’s outdoor track and field coach of the year).

“The former Notre Dame men’s hockey student-athlete standout has also overseen many significant facilities projects impacting all of NMU’s intercollegiate and national training site programs. In addition, Karr initiated two strategic plans and led the department through a rebranding process. He also initiated a licensing partnership, helped establish seven new endowed scholarships, and secured partnerships with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, USA Wrestling, and USA Weightlifting.

“‘I am so excited to welcome Forrest to the Duluth community and UMD,’ said interim athletic director Karen Stromme. ‘He will build upon our local, regional and national success, all while developing our student-athletes on and off the field of play.’

“Karr has also been highly involved in shaping student-athlete health, safety and wellness policy and best practice guidelines on a national level. Recently, he served on the NCAA Board of Governors appointed Campus Sexual Violence Implementation Task Force and has been a member of the NCAA Drug Test Appeal Subcommittee since 2013. Karr chaired the association-wide NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports from 2015-17 and also served on the NCAA Division I Concussion Safety Protocol Committee for non-autonomy institutions from 2015-19.

“In addition, he chaired the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee from 2008-10. Karr has also served in various conference leadership positions chairing the WCHA Management Council from 2015-16, the GLIAC Management Council from 2013-14, and the CCHA Management Council from 2008-09 and again from 2020-22.

“Karr is a frequent speaker on sports-related legal topics. He has served as a moderator or panelist for the Sports Lawyers Association (SLA), NCAA Convention, State Bar of Michigan Bench Bar Conference, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Senior Administrators Mentoring Institute, NCAA Regional Rules Seminar, National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School, Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (FARA) Annual Meeting, American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Convention, University of Wisconsin Law School and many others.

“Previously, Karr served as director of athletics and campus recreation for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. During his tenure, Nanook student-athletes won three team NCAA championships and also three individual NCAA championships. In addition, the university set an NCAA attendance record while hosting the 2007 NCAA Rifle Championships and a student-athlete was selected as the male Division II winner of the 2008 NCAA Sportsmanship Award.

“Karr is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of business administration in finance and business economics from the University of Notre Dame along with a concentration in peace studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He is also a graduate of the Sports Management Institute’s executive education program.

“Forrest and his wife Cara have two daughters, Callia and Colette. Karr will officially be introduced as the next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics on Thursday at 2 p.m. (CDT) at a press conference on the campus of UMD.”

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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