Spears named new AD at Marshall


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Pittsburgh deputy athletic director and chief operating officer Christian Spears was hired as athletic director at Marshall on Monday.

Spears will guide Marshall’s pending transition from Conference USA to the Sun Belt, joining Brad Smith, who came on board as the university’s president in January.

“Christian Spears is a transformational leader who exhibits a deep respect for tradition, combined with an ability to architect a vision to unleash potential,” Smith said in a statement. “Christian’s leadership philosophy and his drive for Marshall to build on its storied foundation of winning mirror my own.”

Earlier this month, Marshall announced along with Old Dominion and Southern Mississippi that they planned to end their affiliations with Conference USA a year early in order to join the Sun Belt.

A few days later, Conference USA released its 2022 football schedule that included 14 teams, saying it will “exhaust all necessary legal actions” to keep the three schools from leaving early.

Spears will start on March 14 and take over from interim athletic Jeff O’Malley, who has been in place since athletic director Mike Hamrick stepped down last July to take a new role within the university.

Prior to joining Pittsburgh in 2017, Spears spent three years as deputy athletic director at Eastern Michigan and five years before that in the same role at Northern Illinois.

He had other assistant athletic director stints at Harvard and Southern Illinois.

Spears earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Washington in 1996, a master’s degree in public administration at Long Beach State in 1998, and a law degree at Ohio State in 2002.