Hometown: Rochester, New York
Job: Athletic Director, University of Evansville
Education: Undergraduate degree in accounting from St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, New York; master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Resume: Committee for the Olympic Games, Atlanta, Georgia, 1995-1996; director of ticket operations, Albuquerque Dukes professional baseball team, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1996-1998; manager of athletic ticket operations, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1998-2000; associate athletic director of business operations, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, 2000-2002; associate athletic director of internal affairs, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, 2002-2006; senior associate athletic director of finance and business affairs, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 2006-2014.
Family: Wife Lindsay and daughter Riley, 6.
Mark Spencer was sure he would become a basketball coach. Studying for his master’s degree at Georgia State University, he dual-majored in sports administration and coaching and realized coaching wasn’t his forté.
“I found I am an analytical accounting mind; administration is where I’m best suited,” he says. “Doing the business side of things is really where my mind goes. I like to fix problems.”
Spencer has worked with athletic departments at universities across the country, big and small. What drew him to athletics,
he says, is the chance to make a difference in students’ lives.
“It’s those kinds of relationships that really make the difference between just having a desk job and working in athletics,” says Spencer.
What attracted you to the athletic director position at the University of Evansville?
I met one of my mentors, Bill McGillis, while working at the University of New Mexico. At the time, he was the senior associate athletic director here at UE and he gave me some good advice and helped me move on to a few jobs. When I got my chance to become the athletic director here, he gave me counsel again.
I feel like I have been following Evansville for about 10 years, since Bill was here. I had an idea of what Evansville was about; I was excited to have the opportunity. I knew it was a place of growth.
I like the small-school environment. The personal interactions on a campus like this are incredible.
What have you enjoyed most about Evansville as a community?
It’s tough to really narrow it down. Evansville is as big or as small as you want it to be. It’s truly Midwest. I’ve met such a great range of people. It is a melting pot. You have the bankers, the insurance folks, the mom-and-pop shop operators, and the farming community. And all of them love their Aces.
We want to give them more recent history they can be excited about. They really embrace the school, our student athletes, and what we’re about. So it’s been great to be welcomed with open arms into the community.
What work do you feel most proud of in your two years at UE?
The deal with ESPN and the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), which allows us to broadcast all of our home men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, women’s volleyball, baseball, and softball games. Every MVC conference member does the same, so fans are able to watch all of the MVC road games as well. The deal brought a producer and director onto our staff. They’re also working in concert with our communications department to help bolster UE’s athletic communications degree to recruit students. They actually teach classes.
The deal integrates so many pieces on campus. Athletics so often can be seen as a divider. We are, for good or for bad, the front window of the university. To be able to represent that through ESPN 3 game broadcasts, while also integrating the communications department, goes exactly with what I have as a professional goal for all my student athletes and really ties into the university’s mission.
What’s your favorite sport?
That’s a tough one. I played basketball, I’m a college basketball junkie. I’m also an absolute soccer fanatic, whether it’s college soccer, Major League Soccer, or English Premier League. Those are the sports I know.
The great part about the sports mix at UE is I know all of them, I’ve seen all of them before, and I understand them. I really like the sports mix here.