UC Riverside’s Wooldridge Named Interim Athletics Director

Men’s basketball coach takes on athletics director role

coaches on bench

Jim Wooldridge (right) has been named interim Athletic Director at UC Riverside. Dennis Cutts (left) has been named interim head coach.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — UC Riverside men’s basketball coach Jim Wooldridge has been named interim athletics director, it was announced today by Interim Chancellor Jane Close Conoley.

Wooldridge, who has been at UCR for the past six years, is a longtime coach and university administrator with significant experience in NCAA Division I athletics.

“I’m pleased to name Coach Jim Wooldridge as our Interim Athletics Director,” said Conoley.  “Through his service to his scholar-athletes and to the UCR community, Jim has stressed the best aspects of learning, competition, and achievement.  He will be a significant resource for the university and the department as we move forward.”

Wooldridge has nearly 400 career coaching wins, and has served as head coach at Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State, and Central Missouri.  He also served as an assistant with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

Wooldridge will step down from his role as head coach of men’s basketball, with current assistant Dennis Cutts to be made interim head coach.

Wooldridge said he welcomes this new professional challenge.

“I’m so excited about the future of UCR Intercollegiate Athletics, and by Interim Chancellor Conoley’s confidence in me,” said Wooldridge.   “I’ve been a proud member of UCR Athletics for the past six years and am very happy to take on a more global role with the campus.”

Both Conoley and Wooldridge reiterated their support for the construction of the C-Center, a planned multi-use arena to be located at UCR.  The project is now under review, with proposals from developers being evaluated.  Announcement of a winning bid could come as early as September.

Conoley stressed the importance of athletics to campus life and the goals of the UCR strategic plan.  “Our strategic plan calls for an enhanced commitment to our student-athletes, student body and fans. We look forward to winning teams in state-of-the-art facilities. We hold the same ambitions for every part of UCR. We are all on the path to pre-eminence.”

head shot

Jim Wooldridge

UCR Athletics has gained momentum recently with strengthened fundraising and community relations activities, new upgrades to facilities, and aggressive new marketing.

Wooldridge replaces Brian Wickstrom, who recently resigned to accept the AD position at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  Conoley pledged to begin a national search for a permanent athletics director as soon as possible.

The UC Riverside Highlanders compete in 17 sports at the NCAA Division I level, the highest level of collegiate competition in the country. UC Riverside is a member of the Big West Conference.

UC Riverside has made a splash on the national scene with NCAA post-season appearances in baseball, women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s track and field. To learn the latest news about UCR Intercollegiate Athletics, check out the website at www.gohighlanders.com.


Below is a review of some of the key accomplishments of UCR Athletics in the past decade:


2004 — Amy S Harrison Softball Field constructed

2007 — Baseball locker room/team room built; Men’s Basketball locker room renovation; Soccer Stadium field renovated with “Tiger Turf” and new scoreboard

2008 — Women’s Basketball locker room renovation

2010 — Student Recreation Center Arena receives new scoreboard, video board, courtside seating

2011 — Soccer Field turf upgraded

2009-12 — Johnson Family Practice Center planning, fundraising and renovation

2010-12 — Track Facility planning and renovation

2012 — Upgrades to Soccer Stadium (wind screens, landscaping, team rooms & benches); upgrades to Amy S Harrison Field (wind screens, batting cage, team room)

2013 — Upgrades to Baseball Field (wind screens, hospitality pavilion)


2008-09 — Launch of gohighlanders.com (after previously being on university’s .edu)

2010 — Upgrades to SRC Arena including courtside seating (Scholarship Row), and video board

2011-13 — Creation and improvement of Hot Ticket events featuring coach’s chalktalk and pre-game meal

2012-13 — Upgraded pre-game and halftime hospitality experience at basketball games; Launch of gohighlanders.com 2.0; Launch of apps for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices; Hospitality Pavilion at Baseball


2011 — New logo launched

2012 — Licensing agreement with LRG secured

2013 — Partnership formed with Nelligan Sports Marketing to manage the Highlanders’ corporate partnership program; Partnership pending with The Aspire Group to manage the Highlanders’ ticket sales efforts; Launched ShopHighlanders.com online apparel and merchandise store

2008-13 — 225 percent increase in sponsorship dollars;

2011-13 — 217 percent increase in Athletics Association fundraising dollars; 127% increase in Athletics Association donors


2007-12 — 367 percent increase in Men’s Soccer attendance

2007-12  — 100 percent increase in Women’s Soccer attendance

2007-12 — 75 percent increase in Volleyball attendance

2007-13  — 63 percent increase in Men’s Basketball attendance


10 percent of student-athletes made Dean’s List in spring 2013 (3.5 GPA or higher)

40 percent of student-athletes made the Highlander Honor Roll in spring 2013 (3.0 GPA or higher)


2007-12 — Men’s Cross Country earns US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors for six straight seasons

2009-12 — Women’s Cross Country earns US Track & Field and Cross CountryCoaches Association All-Academic honors for four straight seasons

2011-12 — Six teams achieved perfect 1000 APR scores (a national measurement of academics, graduation and retention)

2008-12 — Women’s Tennis honored with NCAA Public Recognition Award for finishingin top 10 % of their sport in multi-year APR rates for four straight seasons


2006-13 — Increased Development Office staff from 1 to 5 persons including addition of Director of Fan Development position

2011-13 — Increased Compliance staff from 1 to 2 persons

2012-13 — Increased Academic Services staff from 2.5 to 4.5 persons

ATHLETICS ACCOMPLISHMENTS (since making the move to Division I)

22  All-Americans (including Brenda Martinez who recently finished second in the 800 at USA Nationals to secure a spot on Team USA for the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Moscow this summer)

3 NCAA Women’s Basketball Appearances

2 WNIT Women’s Basketball Appearances

2 NCAA Baseball Appearances

1 NCAA Women’s Soccer Appearance

9 Conference regular season and tournament champions

13  Player of the Year Awards

6  Coach of the Year Awards

World Series Champions

Anthony Claggett (New York Yankees, 2009),

Marc Rzepczynski (St. Louis Cardinals, 2011)

Dan Runzler (San Francisco Giants, 2010, ‘12)

PGA Tour Title Winner

(Brendan Steele, Valero Texas Open, 2011)

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

John Maxwell
Tel: (951) 827-5438
E-mail: john.maxwell@ucr.edu

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