UHV’s Walyuchow named RRAC Athletic Director of the Year

WACO – Recognized nationally with a major award and as a leader within the NAIA, Ashley Walyuchow of the University of Houston-Victoria can now add 2019-20 RRAC Athletic Director of the Year to his resume.

Ashley Walyuchow

The founding father of the UHV athletic program received the distinction of 2015-16 NACDA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year for the NAIA, and he has been involved in many legislative and procedural decisions at the national level. Walyuchow has also been instrumental in the progress of the RRAC and UHV's previous affiliation, Association of Independent Institutions.

The RRAC Athletic Director of the Year award recognizes the leader who had the best year in overall program improvement, facility development, game administration, NAIA Champions of Character commitment, ability to hire and keep quality coaches, program growth in sports and revenue opportunities, contributions at the conference and national levels, and student-athlete development. The award is decided through a vote by all RRAC athletic directors.

“It’s a nice honor and a reflection of the work the entire department does on a daily basis,” Walyuchow said. “The past year has been a trying one with the COVID-19 pandemic, and one can quickly forget the successes that we accomplished. Men’s soccer had a great season. We had a phenomenal Weekend for the Jaguars. We’ve had plenty of success in the classroom and in the community, and this recognition is a result of everyone working as a team to achieve such great results.”

Walyuchow has served as athletic director since the inception of UHV Athletics in 2006. He has expanded the Jaguar program from two to six sports and 50 to 140 student-athletes during that time. 

“I’m grateful and honored to receive this recognition from my peers in the Red River and also realize I must share it with all who have played a role and lent a hand in helping us achieve the success we have thus far,” Walyuchow said.

As a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council and second vice president for the NAIA Athletics Directors Association Board of Directors currently, Walyuchow has been at the forefront of many issues related to college athletics this year, including COVID-19 decisions and students' Name-Image-Likeness rights. 

“Ash's recognition as RRAC AD of the Year is long overdue,” LSU Shreveport Athletic Director Lucas Morgan said. “He is extremely involved at the national level and is one of the driving forces of both the RRAC and the NAIA. He has the best interest of the student-athletes in mind when he makes decisions and we are fortunate to have him working with us. He is someone that I have leaned on when making tough decisions and couldn't be more thrilled he is receiving this honor. Congrats Ash!”

“We're fortunate to have a strong and active group of athletic directors in our conference, and Ashley is an excellent example of that leadership,” RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano said. “We benefit from Ashley's consistent involvement at the national level and his dedication to the RRAC and his school.”

Originally hired in 2000 as a development professional for UHV, Walyuchow has used those skills to attract major gifts in recent years including 65 acres of land for future athletic facility construction, a $300,000 donation for athletics, and a new record with $100,000 in contributions from UHV's annual “The Night for the Jaguars” event. 

On the field, UHV won the 2019 RRAC men's soccer regular season and tournament titles to advance to the NAIA national championship. Likewise, the softball team won the 2019 RRAC conference regular season and earned an at-large berth to the national championship opening round. 

Walyuchow’s experiences include co-hosting a morning talk show, front-office experience in Minor League Baseball and founder/player-coach of the collegiate hockey club at Washington State University. He also has more than 20 years of experience as a play-by-play announcer, calling a variety of sports including professional baseball, high school and college football, high school and college basketball and college and junior hockey. He earned his bachelor's degree from WSU. 

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Walyuchow is married to Cheryl and has two grown daughters, a son-in-law and one grandson in addition to 10 rescue dogs, three rescue cats, 13 chickens and three cows.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paul Ebner