As a former director of athletics, long-time administrator and recognized expert on the sports landscape, Jeff Compher brings to his role with WittKieffer a unique insight into college athletics and the types of individuals who thrive in leadership roles. Based in Chicago, Jeff leads searches for athletics directors, coaches and senior-level administrators at a range of institutions, drawing upon more than 25 years of experience at leading colleges and universities.
Jeff’s work is built upon establishing close rapport and trust with clients, ensuring that an institution’s president, trustees, search committee and other key stakeholders understand the challenges and opportunities of an engagement. In sourcing candidates and reaching out into the marketplace, he relies upon an extensive network of former peers and leaders with whom he has established relationships over many years.
Jeff’s career as an athletics administrator focused on the student-athlete experience and sports as a complement to the educational missions of the institutions he served. He has championed Title IX, diversity and inclusion initiatives, strong ethics and compliance, financial prudence, fundraising, media partnerships, academic support and life skills for athletes, and many more important issues in intercollegiate athletics. Most recently as director of athletics for East Carolina University, he oversaw a complex NCAA Division I program with 450 student-athletes and 170 staff members, led the department’s ambitious strategic planning efforts, and managed the school’s transition from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference. Jeff was a key member of the chancellor’s executive council.
As director of athletics at Northern Illinois University, Compher also emphasized academics and athletics, as all 17 of NIU’s intercollegiate programs surpassed the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) every year during his tenure. Jeff also experienced widespread success as AD at Western Carolina University, and held significant roles at the University of Washington, Vanderbilt University and North Carolina State University, where he spent 13 years at the start of his career.