Women's Basketball Coach Named CSU Athletic Director

COLUMBUS, Ga. - CSU today announced that longtime Athletic Director Herbert Greene will soon move into a fund-raising role for the department and women’s basketball coach Jay Sparks will take over athletic director responsibilities.

In June, Greene will become special assistant to the president for fund-raising for the CSU Athletic Department. Simultaneously, Sparks will add “athletic director” to his title while continuing to coach women’s basketball, said CSU President Frank Brown, who plans to retire June 30.

The move is designed to ensure a smooth transition in the department, which Greene has led since 1986. Greene plans to retire sometime in 2009. When he leaves, the new CSU president will likely work with Sparks and separate the position of athletic director and coach. Brown said he expects Sparks to be given the choice of which role to take full time.

“Jay Sparks is a great coach who has also proven himself as an excellent administrator. He will keep the department moving forward,” Brown said. “Herbert Greene is excited that Jay is taking over. It’s a testament to Herbert’s devotion for CSU and his love for the athletic department that he suggested this move as a way for the department to continue its growth and success under a new president.”

Sparks is in his 19th year as head coach of CSU’s Lady Cougars and his 10th year as assistant athletic director.

Under his guidance, the Lady Cougars won an impressive 158 games against only 37 losses in a six year span from 1998 to 2003. Included in that pan were four post-season appearances (’98, ’00, ’01 and ’03), three Peach Belt Conference championships (’00, ’01 and ’03), two PBC Tournament titles (’00, ’01), two South Atlantic Region Championships (’00, ’01) and two trips to the Division II Elite Eight and Final Four (’00 and ’01).

The Lady Cougars finished the regular season in 2001 at 25-0, with a 16-0 conference mark and a second-straight PBC title. After winning the PBC Tournament, the Lady Cougars hosted the first-ever NCAA South Atlantic Regional tournament on the campus, winning the title to earn a spot in the Elite Eight. CSU defeated Southern Indiana to move to the semifinal before suffering the season’s only loss to eventual national champion Cal Poly Pomona. The final record was a national-best 31-1. Sparks was chosen PBC Coach of the Year, Georgia Division II Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and National Division II Coach of the Year by the Division II Bulletin for his work in the 2000-01 season.

Before coming to Columbus State, Sparks coached girls’ basketball at Hardaway High School in Columbus from 1980-1984 and boys’ basketball at his alma mater, Brookstone, from 1985-1986. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Sparks has been married to his wife, Cindy for 26 years, and they have two children, Emily, a senior at Samford University, and Bentley, a freshman at Berry College. The family attends First Baptist Church of Columbus. In his free time, Sparks enjoys golfing, working in his yard and watching sports on television.