Gragg was named new Tulsa AD on March 22nd
Gragg has spent the past seven years as Eastern Michigan's AD
Dr. Derrick Gragg was named as The University of Tulsa's Vice President and Director of Athletics on March 20, 2013, and began his tenure with the Golden Hurricane 39 days later.
Before coming to Tulsa, Gragg spent seven years as the Director of Athletics at Eastern Michigan University, where he was responsible for an intercollegiate athletic program with 21 teams, 550 student-athletes and 80 staff members. Gragg's experience covers 20 years in progressively advanced roles at the universities of Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
"We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Derrick Gragg will be joining TU as our new director of athletics. Our search committee was presented with an impressive field of applicants for this position, and Derrick stood out as an exceptional candidate," said TU President Steadman Upham when announcing Gragg's appointment. "Derrick's history of integrity and excellence is well-suited to keep our university and its athletic program moving forward. He will be an enthusiastic and dedicated leader for Golden Hurricane student-athletes and their coaches."
"My family and I are tremendously excited to be part of The University of Tulsa. This is a wonderful opportunity to lead a program of this caliber," Gragg said at the introductory news conference. "The university's combination of academic and athletic success dovetails perfectly with my own personal and professional core values. We are eager to become an integral part the Tulsa community and the TU family."
Under Gragg's leadership, Eastern Michigan enjoyed successful campaigns not only on the field, but also in the classroom. EMU athletic teams accumulated 22 Mid-American Conference (MAC) championships in that time. Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan's student-athlete graduation rate exceeded the general student body graduation rate by 20%. Impressively the EMU student-athletes posted the highest cumulative grade point average in history four consecutive semesters during Gragg's tenure.
Eastern Michigan also saw its athletic fundraising levels reach new heights with four of the top five funding years occurring under Gragg's tenure as athletic director. Additionally, Gragg spearheaded the construction of EMU's $3.9 million multipurpose indoor athletic practice facility and was nationally recognized for his leadership, earning the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) Administrator of the Year Award in 2008-09.
Gragg spent six years at the University of Arkansas before his appointment at Eastern Michigan. He joined Arkansas in 2000 as an associate athletic director and was promoted to senior associate athletic director in 2003 and then to deputy athletic director. In his tenure at Arkansas, Gragg was involved in various areas including: athletic administration, sport program oversight, marketing, sports information, recruitment, budgeting, student-athlete support, compliance, facilities and game management, fund-raising and research.
Before that, Gragg spent three years as assistant athletic director for compliance at Michigan beginning his tenure in 1997. Previously, he was the director of compliance and operations at Missouri from 1995-97. During his two years in Columbia, he was the game event manager for 10 Olympic sports programs and chairman of the Big 12 Compliance Coordinators Group during his last year as compliance coordinator at the university.
Gragg began his career in athletic administration at his alma mater, Vanderbilt, where he served from 1993 to 1995 as an academic counselor before adding the title of director of student life in his final year.
During his career, Gragg has published several articles and editorials on intercollegiate athletics as well as a nationwide study on sports-related gambling. He has been a presenter and panelist at events such as the NCAA Future Coaches Academy, Champions for Athletic Directors and Football Coaches, and the NCAA Annual Convention. Gragg also authorized two Title IX studies while demonstrating continual improvement in Title IX compliance and gender equity issues.
He is a former member of the NCAA's Minority Opportunities & Interests Committee, having served as co-chair of the committee in 2004-05. Gragg recently served as a member of the NCAA's Legislative Council and is currently a member of the NACDA Division I-A Athletic Directors Scholarship Ad Hoc Steering Committee. He will also serve as a member of the American Athletic Conference Athletic Directors Council.
A former collegiate wide receiver, Gragg lettered four years at Vanderbilt while earning his bachelor's degree in human development in 1992. He earned his master's degree in sports administration from Wayne State University in 1999. Gragg received his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas in May of 2004 and also taught several college courses during his tenure there as an athletic administrator.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Gragg was inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County (Ala.) Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010. He is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Black Coaches and Administrators (BCA).
Gragg, 43 (11-19-69), and his wife, Sanya, have three children: daughter DeSha, and sons Avery and Phillip-Raymond.