After three years at the helm of Central Michigan University Athletics, Michael Alford will leave CMU at the end of August to become the next CEO of Seminole Boosters, Inc., at Florida State University. The search for his successor will begin immediately.
"Michael's leadership will be sorely missed," President Bob Davies said. "He understands that the student in student-athlete comes first, and it was evident that every move he made to enhance CMU's championship culture and program was intended to help students succeed not only on the field but in the classroom."
For example, during 2019-20, CMU student-athletes extended their streak to 43 consecutive semesters with a collective grade-point average above 3.0, and CMU's student-athlete cumulative GPA stood at 3.24. In addition, nine CMU programs posted a perfect single-year academic program ranking of 1,000.
Alford, who begins his role with FSU Sept. 1, has committed to assisting Davies with the search to find CMU's next Zyzelewski Family Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics.
"CMU's authentic culture and commitment to not just winning at the Division 1 level but excelling in an upper mid-major conference is unparalleled," Alford said. "Our success on and off the field demonstrates that. I am committed to working with the president to help find a successor committed to our mission of excellence, which promises to provide an authentic environment where student-athletes can thrive in academics and athletics."
Under Alford's leadership:
- The CMU football team posted the second-most-dramatic one-season turnaround among Football Bowl Subdivision teams, finishing with an 8-6 record, winning the Mid-American Conference West Division title for the first time since 2009, and making appearances in both the MAC Championship Game and the New Mexico Bowl.
- The CMU Chippewa women's basketball team continued its dominance, winning its fourth-consecutive MAC regular-season title, its fifth-straight MAC West crown and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.
- The CMU volleyball team completed one of its best seasons in program history, finishing 21-9 and winning the MAC West title, and earning a postseason tournament bid for the second time.
Alford said he is proud of what the program has accomplished over the last several years but was quick to point out that success doesn't happen in a vacuum.
"CMU's successes are because of the people associated with our program," Alford said. "This includes the coaches and staff who challenge our student-athletes in practice and on the field; faculty who challenge them in the classroom; our Board of Trustees and university leadership, alumni, donors and supporters of the CMU Chippewa Athletic program; and the countless community members, businesses and fans who support them in the stands."
Alford will close his tenure at CMU coming off the most successful fundraising period in Central Michigan Athletics history, with construction well underway on the Chippewa Champions Center. The center is a transformational project overlooking Kelly/Shorts Stadium that will fill critical needs for the university community, support student-athlete success and serve as an inspirational environment for students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff.
Additional noteworthy fundraising accomplishments under Alford's leadership include:
- The construction of the videoboard at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. At 3,200 square feet, the videoboard is by far the largest in the MAC and includes a state-of-the-art audio system.
- The renegotiation of CMU Athletics' sponsorship deal with Adidas, increasing revenue by more than 600%.
- The design and construction of new locker rooms and a team room for the soccer and gymnastics programs.
- An all-time department fundraising record in 2018-19.
- An all-time high of Chippewa Athletic Fund memberships.