ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The American Midwest Conference (AMC) has announced that Claude English has been named the AMC Athletic Director of the Year.
English is in his 22nd full year and just completed his 21st academic season as the Athletic Director for Park (Mo.). During his time at the helm of the athletics department, English has guided the Pirates through a steady athletics program improvement, including enhancing facilities and providing student-athletes with a first-rate experience at the University.
"It is an absolute honor to be recognized by your peers, and to be honest, I'm overwhelmed," English said. "Anytime you're recognized with an award like this, though, it goes back to your staff, and your student-athletes. I always say we have the best coaching staff any AD could ask for, and things like this prove it. This is their award. I'm proud of the year we had at Park."
During the 2016-17 season, the Pirates participated in eight out of a possible 15 NAIA National Championship events and finished fourth in the AMC's President's Cup, improving its placing in 10 sports from the 2015-16 season.
"Personally, Claude English serves as an incredible mentor, and under his guidance, I've really grown personally and professionally," said Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations and Compliance Steve Wilson. "Coach English serves as a professional coach for his staff, and his open-door policy makes working at Park, in athletics, a fantastic experience. We have one of the best staffs in the NAIA because of his leadership, and that leadership will see Park University only expand on its offerings, facility upgrades, presence online, and overall student-athlete experience, which is already one of the best in small college sports."
As director of athletics at Park, the Pirates have captured 71 conference championships, and in each of his 22 years as the AD, at least one Park program has represented the Pirates in NAIA postseason play. He has also watched more than 150 student-athletes earn All-America honors, and nearly 350 student-athletes have been named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. In his tenure as AD, the Pirates have five NAIA men's volleyball tournament championships, six individual championships in track and field and one NAIA women's volleyball national championship.
English has also helped Park host two NAIA women's soccer national championships and two NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational Championships, as well as serving the NAIA as a red coat at the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship.
His men's basketball coaching tenure ended in the 2004-05 season with more than 200 career wins between Park and his alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, where he was a standout player, going on to play professionally for the Portland Trail Blazers. English is a member of two halls of fame – the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame and the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame, in his hometown of Columbus, Georgia.