Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) Director of Athletics Joe Hakes has announced his plan to retire at the end of the spring 2020 semester.
Under his guidance since 2014, Hakes has led the department into full membership of both the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III— for the first time in the history of Illinois Tech—and expanded its athletics program to include men’s volleyball, men’s lacrosse, women’s tennis, and men’s tennis. The men’s tennis team became the first Illinois Tech team to earn a spot in an NCAA Division III tournament in 2019.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the transition of the athletics department at Illinois Institute of Technology, especially in terms of the move to the NCAA Division III,” says Hakes. “The ability to compete with like-minded college athletic programs has put Illinois Tech where it should be. I have been able to work with a great and dedicated staff that has made the department what it is today. The opportunity to work with, and for, the student-athletes here has been amazing. How they combine the commitment to their athletic endeavors with the incredible academic workload is really inspirational. I will miss all of the environment. I look forward to the next steps that will be taken to further move the Scarlet Hawks to higher levels of student experience.”
Building a strong NCAA Division III program that further advances the university’s strategy to create competitive men’s and women’s athletic teams—while continuing the university’s long-standing tradition of graduating exceptional student-athletes—has been Hakes’s goal since day one.
“In just six years, Joe has played a critical role in ushering Illinois Tech athletics into a new era of excellence,” says Alan W. Cramb, President of Illinois Tech. “The university was very fortunate to have Joe leading these important university strategic objectives during this period of growth.”
Illinois Tech plans to announce Hakes’s replacement later this year. In the interim, Marc Colwell, head coach of the Illinois Tech men’s soccer team and associate director of athletics for operations, and Usha Gilmore, associate director of athletics for facilities and compliance, will lead the department.