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Gray chosen to lead Alaska Nanooks

Fairbanks, Alaska—Veteran athletics administrator and coach Gary Gray has been chosen as the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ new intercollegiate athletics director.

Gray, whose 40-year career includes experience in both K-12 and higher education, will start his new position mid-September. During a morning news conference, he spoke about his longtime association with the Nanooks during his tenure as intercollegiate athletics director at fellow GNAC school Montana State University, Billings.

“I am definitely familiar with this great university and the wonderful tradition of Nanook athletics,” Gray said. “I am not new to competing against Nanooks and now it will be great to be a Nanook.”

Gray was chosen from a nationwide pool of about 100 applicants. Three finalists visited UAF this week: Gray; Carl Clapp, associate athletics director at the University of Hawaii at Manoa; and Bill Macriss, deputy director of athletics at Sacramento State.

“We found ourselves a person who believes in athletics, believes in the value of athletics not just for the university, but also for the community of Fairbanks,” said Mike Sfraga, vice chancellor for university and student advancement. “Gary will be a very good partner to help build UAF athletics; he will be a good partner in the community. I am looking forward to working with him day-to-day on helping to build not only Nanook athletics but also UAF.”

Gray has served at his post at Montana State University, Billings since 1994. His experience includes serving as a coach, teacher, professor, dean and athletics administrator. Gray has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton; a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky, Lexington; and a doctorate from the University of Oregon, Eugene.

“We wanted someone with experience, someone that understood the D2 experience, that it’s about the student in ‘student-athlete,’ as well as the athlete,” said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. “He understands the connection to the community and how we can build that.”

Many of Gray’s comments to the several dozen people gathered for the news conference focused on rallying the Alaska Nanooks community to strengthen the existing program and create a plan for building on that foundation.

“I want to honor the rich history of this program, that is very important: To honor the past, look at where we are now here in the present, and move forward. We will do that with a great deal of respect and honor,” Gray said. “We will never forget our goal, and that is to provide the best possible academic and athletic experience for the student-athletes we recruit.”

UAF is a NCAA Division II institution that sponsors 10 varsity sports. Men's and women's cross-country, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball all compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Men's ice hockey is the only Division I sport and competes in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Women's swimming competes in the Pacific Coast Swimming and Diving Conference, while men's and women's skiing belong to the Central Collegiate Ski Association. The 10-time NCAA Champion rifle team is independent. For more information, visit the official athletics website at www.alaskananooks.com.

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