Home US SportsNCAAB Indiana State introduces Christensen as new athletics director

Indiana State introduces Christensen as new athletics director


As it ventures into the new and changing world of the business of college athletics, Indiana State introduced Nathan Christensen as its new director of ahletics on Thursday morning in Hulman Center.

“This is an important moment for us here at Indiana State University, and this [hiring] was one of my top priorities,” said the school’s president, Mike Godard, who’s in only his third week on the job.

Mentioning Christensen’s “passion and level of enthusiasm,” Godard added, “His ability to fund-raise is fundamental in supporting the athletic department.”

The president spoke to an assembly of media representatives and ISU coaches, but also a significant number of local businessmen, and Christensen addressed that group as well.

“Indiana State picked me and I picked Indiana State,” Christensen said. He looks as the job as a way to “invest in our student/athletes, invest in our campus and invest in our community. … I look forward to building on [Indiana State’s] past success. I am honored, humbled and excited.”

The new athletic director was accompanied by his wife, Kalli, and children Eleanor and Kelby. Kelby found time as the meeting was breaking up to practice on one of Hulman Center’s goals, with help from men’s basketball coach Matthew Graves.

Christensen comes to Indiana State from Missouri Valley Football Conference rival South Dakota State, where he was senior associate athletic director of development, and is familiar with some of the challenges he will be facing.

“I want to meet with as many people as possible,” he told the Tribune-Star when asked about his priorities. “Basketball is obviously what makes this place tick, but I want broad-based successes. And football is a priority for me.”

South Dakota State is a two-time defending national champion in the Football Championship Subdivision, so Christensen is used to success in that area. He expressed enthusiasm for coach Curt Mallory on Thursday, less enthusiasm for ISU’s football facilities.

And he didn’t downplay what is ahead for him.

“We have work to do,” Christensen acknowledged, “and we have to work on building some meaningful relationships.”

In addition to being a fellow FCS and MVFC member with the Jackrabbits, the Sycamores are — like SDSU — also a mid-major competitor in the other college sports and — as evidenced recently in basketball and baseball — are experiencing the vagaries of the transfer portal and the compensation that athletes are now able to receive.

“There are going to be 40 or 50 [bigger and richer schools] that are going to go off and do their own things,” Christensen said. “We need to be the best version of Indiana State at the end of the day … and we want to be in a position to have conversations about conference alignment.”

And the Sycamores do have some positive things in their favor, he pointed out.

“We were third [in the Missouri Valley Conference All-Sports Standings after the 2023-24 school year] and we won the most conference championships,” Christensen pointed out.

“And I’d be willing to say that were have more [sports] history than any other school in the Missouri Valley Conference.”

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