As the Bradley Department of Athletics prepares for the 2012-13 season, Dr. Michael Cross begins his third full year at the department's helm after taking over as the University's ninth Director of Athletics Jan. 1, 2010. In his position, Dr. Cross supervises operations, athletic performance, NCAA compliance, communications and fundraising for Bradley's 15 intercollegiate athletic programs, while serving as a liaison between the Athletic Department and other units of the University. He also serves as a member of Bradley University President Joanne Glasser's cabinet.
Under his leadership, Bradley Athletics strives to provide every student-athlete the opportunity for both a distinctive education and a championship experience, while embracing five core values: accountability, courage, diligence, integrity and respect.
In his first full year at Bradley, Dr. Cross led the department's move into the new Renaissance Coliseum, the 4,200-seat arena and basketball performance center that has brought the entire Department of Athletics under one roof for the first time in school history. In addition, better than 80 percent of Bradley's student-athletes, 139 in total, recorded a minimum 3.0 grade point average during at least one of the two semesters to earn a spot on the Bradley Athletic Director's Honor Roll. Bradley once again ranked among the national leaders in NCAA Graduation Success Rate at 94 percent when the NCAA released its figures in October 2010 and four Braves programs - men's cross country, women's cross country, women's golf and women's tennis - all received Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA in May 2011 for posting multi-year Academic Progress Rates among the top 10 percent in the country for their respective sports.
Among the competitive team highlights during Dr. Cross' first year at Bradley, the soccer program won the 2010 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship as the host institution for the first time in program history, knocking off #12 Creighton, 3-2, in the semifinals and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in a penalty kick shootout in the title game at Shea Stadium. The Braves went on to play in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time since 2000. With a roster comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores, the Bradley men's tennis team enjoyed its most successful season since 1989-90.
Individually, men's basketball guard Dodie Dunson was one of 10 national finalists for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and earned a spot on the I-AAA Athletic Director's Association Scholar-Athlete Team, while senior softball player Brittany Fairbairn was voted a second-team Capital One Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Women's golfer Kelly Amundrud was The Valley's Golfer of the Year and runner Mary Goldkamp qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Regionals in the 1,500 meters for the second consecutive year.
In his second year with the Braves in 2011-12, Cross directed the re-instatement of the men's outdoor track and field team, increasing Bradley's total intercollegiate sports offerings to 15, while giving the men's distance runners an opportunity to compete for the Braves throughout the school year. The 2011 men's soccer team was nationally-ranked throughout the season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament after earning consecutive trips to the postseason for the first time in program history. Posting a 15-6-2 record, soccer led the way for a department-wide resurgence that saw 10 teams improve their overall records and/or improve their finish in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.
Academically, the Braves continued to excel with record performances in the classroom during the 2011-12 year. A record 165 student-athletes, better than 82 percent of the overall student-athlete population, earned a spot on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll in at least one of the two semesters and the entire department posted a record 3.25 GPA during the 2012 spring semester. Soccer player Bobby Smith was a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award All-American and a first-team Capital One Academic All-American, while Amundrud earned second-team Capital One Academic All-America honors.
Dr. Cross comes to Bradley from Princeton University, where he had been Executive Associate Director of Athletics since July of 2006. For three years before that appointment, he served as Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Intercollegiate Programming. In those roles, Dr. Cross was a leading member of the senior management team that was responsible for the Ivy League university's 38 intercollegiate programs.
From December 2006 to April 2007, Dr. Cross was the Acting Director of Athletics at Princeton while Athletic Director Gary Walters chaired the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee.
On the Princeton Athletic Department staff since 1999, Dr. Cross also served as Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Regulatory Affairs, Associate Director of Athletics for Regulatory Affairs, and Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance. From 2003 to 2007, he was commissioner of the Collegiate Sprint Football League.
Princeton won the Ivy League's unofficial all-sports standings and produced at least one individual team or national champion in each of the 11 years Dr. Cross was on the staff. During that time, Princeton teams won 24 national championships and 153 Ivy League titles, more than any other Ivy League institution. The Princeton Athletic Department supports more than 1,000 student-athletes.
Prior to moving to Princeton, Dr. Cross served at the University of Michigan as Assistant Director of Compliance, NCAA Certification Assistant and as a Graduate Assistant between 1994 and 1999. While at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Cross was the Assistant to the Dean of Students from 1992-1993, an Assistant Coach of the men's basketball team in 1991-1992 and a three-year letter-winner on the basketball team.
He is currently a member of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance, and previously served on the NCAA Baseball and NCAA Research committees.
A 1991 graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo with a degree in economics, Dr. Cross also received his master's degree in education from SUNY-Buffalo in 1993 and a doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Michigan in 1999.
A native of the Buffalo, New York area, Dr. Cross and his wife Jennifer have two sons.