Eastern Michigan University announced Scott Wetherbee as athletic director, completing the university’s search Tuesday, June 27.
The Board of Regents approved the hiring at their June meeting. He replaces Heather Lyke, who left to become athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh in March 2017. Wetherbee is the 14th athletic director in EMU history since 1903.
Wetherbee previously served as senior associate athletic director at Mississippi State University from 2013 to 2017. Wetherbee, a Kalamazoo native, began his career as an intern in the ticket office at Western Michigan University. He also held positions in the athletic departments at his alma mater Ball State, as well as Fresno State, San Diego State and East Carolina respectively, bringing more than 20 years of collegiate experience to Ypsilanti.
"Scott Wetherbee is highly regarded in the industry and was recently identified as among the best of the best upcoming athletic directors in the country," President Smith said.
"His enthusiasm for the position, his roots in Michigan, and his background and experience are ideally suited to continue to move Eastern Michigan athletics forward."
At Mississippi State, his well-documented track record of branding was a strong selling point for EMU's search committee. EMU has long since suffered from brand issues, while the crosstown University of Michigan Wolverines have prospered with the hiring of former interim athletic director Jim Hackett, and currently with Warde Manuel serving in the same position.
"Getting creative, and thinking outside the box. We have to create an event here other than the game itself," Wetherbee said when asked about his approach to draw fans to sporting events.
"Focusing on the students and creating an atmosphere and a fan experience. We face challenges because we're a commuter, but if the game is Tuesday night, then let's make Tuesday night an event. It's going to also include passion, excitement and hiring good people."
Wetherbee signed a 5-year contract with a base salary of $269,000, almost $25,000 more than Heather Lyke's deal. He officially began day-to-day operations as of the opening of business July 17.
"Scott is so worthy of an opportunity like this. Eastern Michigan is getting one of the great young minds in athletic administration," said Mississippi State University Director of Athletics John Cohen.