Women's Basketball Coach to Also Become Athletic Director

COLUMBUS, Ga. - CSU today announced that longtime athletic director Herbert Green 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. At that occurs, 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, 2008.

The move is designed to ensure a smooth transition in the department, which has been led by Greene 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“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, right, is in his 19th year as head coach of the Lady Cougars and his 10th year as assistant athletic director.

Under his tutelage, the Lady Cougars won 158 games against 37 losses from 1998 to 2003. That included 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 1980-84 and boy’s basketball at his alma mater, Brookstone, from 1985-86. A graduate of Tennessee Chattanooga, Sparks has been married to his wife, Cindy, for 27 years and they have two children, Emily, a graduate student at Auburn University, and Bentley, a sophomore 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.