Athletic Director Job Description

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What is a Athletic Director?

An Athletic Director, sometimes referred to as an Athletic Administrator, is a professional responsible for overseeing all aspects of sports programs and athletic activities within an organization or educational institution. They commonly work in the field of education, particularly in high schools, colleges, and universities. However, they can also be found in other industries such as professional sports organizations, recreational centers, and community sports associations. Their role involves managing budgets, hiring and supervising coaches, scheduling games and tournaments, ensuring compliance with regulations, and promoting the overall development and success of athletic programs.

What does Athletic Director do?

On a day-to-day basis, an Athletic Director (AD) is responsible for overseeing and managing the athletic department in a school or university. Their specific tasks may vary depending on the size and level of the athletic program, but generally, an AD's responsibilities include:

  1. Administration: The AD handles department budgets, manages scheduling, coordinates travel arrangements for teams, and ensures compliance with all relevant rules and regulations. They may also be responsible for supervising coaching staff, conducting performance evaluations, and hiring new coaches as needed.

  2. Facility Management: The AD oversees the maintenance and scheduling of athletic facilities, including fields, courts, gyms, and stadiums. They may coordinate with facility staff to ensure that venues are ready for practices, games, and events.

  3. Scheduling and Event Management: The AD works closely with other schools or universities to schedule athletic competitions. They coordinate game dates, times, and locations, and ensure that all required officials and personnel are scheduled for each event. Additionally, they manage ticket sales, marketing, and promotions for athletic events.

  4. Student-Athlete Support: The AD provides support and guidance to student-athletes, ensuring they meet academic eligibility requirements and maintain satisfactory progress towards graduation. They may work closely with academic advisors and monitor student-athletes' progress. Moreover, the AD may serve as a liaison between students, coaches, and parents, addressing any concerns or issues.

  5. Fundraising and Budgeting: The AD is responsible for developing and implementing fundraising initiatives to support the athletic program. They seek sponsorships, donations, and other sources of revenue to finance athletic scholarships, facility improvements, and program enhancements. Additionally, the AD manages the department's budget, allocating funds for equipment, uniforms, travel expenses, and other operational costs.

  6. Compliance and Regulations: The AD ensures that the athletic department conforms to all applicable rules and regulations set by governing bodies, such as state athletic associations or collegiate athletic conferences. They keep up to date with changes in regulations and policies and ensure program compliance.

  7. Strategic Planning: The AD participates in long-term planning to enhance the athletic department's overall effectiveness and success. They may develop strategic goals, create policies and procedures, and evaluate program performance. Additionally, the AD may collaborate with other departments within the institution to align athletic goals with the overall mission and vision of the organization.

Overall, an Athletic Director's primary focus is to ensure the smooth functioning of the athletic department, support student-athletes, maintain compliance, and promote the overall growth and success of the athletic program.

What skills are needed to be a Athletic Director?

The skills required for an Athletic Director include:

  1. Strong leadership - As an Athletic Director, you need to provide direction and guidance to coaches, staff, and student-athletes, ensuring a cohesive and successful athletic program.

  2. Excellent communication - Effective written and verbal communication skills are crucial for interacting with coaches, parents, school administration, and community members. Clear communication helps to foster relationships, resolve conflicts, and promote the athletic program.

  3. Organizational skills - Athletic Directors must have exceptional organizational abilities to coordinate schedules, manage budgets, and oversee facilities and equipment. Being detail-oriented and able to multitask are essential in this role.

  4. Sports knowledge - In-depth knowledge of various sports is essential to provide guidance and support to coaches and student-athletes. Understanding the rules, strategies, and techniques of different sports allows an Athletic Director to oversee and evaluate athletic programs effectively.

  5. Budgeting and financial management - Athletic Directors are responsible for managing the athletic program's budget, including fundraising, budget allocation, and financial reporting. Knowledge of budgeting and financial management principles is crucial to ensure the program remains fiscally sustainable.

  6. Recruiting and talent evaluation - The ability to identify and recruit talented coaches and student-athletes is essential. Athletic Directors must also evaluate the performance and progress of coaches and athletes to make informed decisions and help them reach their full potential.

  7. Conflict resolution - Being able to address conflicts and resolve disputes is crucial in fostering a positive and supportive athletic environment. Athletic Directors must effectively mediate conflicts among coaches, parents, and student-athletes, ensuring fair and equitable resolutions.

  8. Community engagement - Building relationships with the community, alumni, and local organizations is vital for promoting the athletic program and garnering support. Athletic Directors should be skilled in networking, public speaking, and community outreach.

  9. Compliance and regulations - Staying updated on relevant regulations, policies, and governing body rules is essential to ensure compliance within the athletic program. Athletic Directors must ensure the program operates within the guidelines set by local, state, and national athletic associations.

  10. Strategic planning - Athletic Directors must have the ability to develop and implement long-term strategic plans for the athletic program. This can include setting goals, evaluating program effectiveness, and making improvements to enhance the overall success of the program.

Athletic Director

Athletic Director duties and responsibilities

Duties of an Athletic Director:

  1. Overseeing sports programs: As an athletic director, the primary responsibility is to provide leadership and direction for all sports programs within the organization. This includes managing team budgets, coordinating schedules, and ensuring compliance with rules and regulations.

  2. Hiring and supervising coaches: Another key duty is to recruit, hire, and supervise coaches for different sports teams. This involves evaluating candidates, negotiating contracts, and providing guidance and support to ensure coaches are successful in their roles.

  3. Managing facility and equipment: Athletic directors are responsible for maintaining and managing sports facilities, including fields, gyms, and stadiums. This involves coordinating facility maintenance, organizing equipment purchases and inventories, and ensuring a safe and functional environment for athletes.

  4. Promoting sports programs: A major duty is to promote and market sports programs to encourage participation and engagement from students, parents, and the community. This may involve planning and coordinating events, running advertising campaigns, and cultivating relationships with local media outlets.

  5. Budgeting and financial management: Athletic directors are typically responsible for creating and managing the budget for sports programs. This includes forecasting expenses, allocating funds, monitoring expenditures, and seeking alternative sources of funding through sponsorships or fundraising efforts.

  6. Ensuring compliance and eligibility: Athletic directors must ensure that all student-athletes meet eligibility requirements set forth by regulatory bodies, such as academic standards and age restrictions. They also work to ensure compliance with rules and regulations related to fair play, safety, and ethical conduct.

  7. Collaborating with administration and stakeholders: Athletic directors often collaborate with school administrators, athletic conference representatives, and other stakeholders to make decisions regarding sports programs. This includes attending meetings, participating in committees, and advocating for the interests of the athletic department.

Qualifications required to be Athletic Director

The qualifications required for an Athletic Director can vary depending on the specific institution or organization. However, there are several common qualifications and attributes that are typically desired:

  1. Education: Most Athletic Director positions require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field such as Sports Management, Physical Education, or a similar discipline. Some organizations may prefer or require a master's degree in a related field.

  2. Experience: Many Athletic Director positions require previous experience in athletics administration, coaching, or a related field. This could include experience at the high school, college, or professional level.

  3. Leadership and Management Skills: Athletic Directors are responsible for overseeing the entire athletic program, so strong leadership and management skills are essential. This includes organizational, decision-making, budgeting, and communication skills.

  4. Knowledge of Athletic policies and regulations: Athletic Directors need to have a deep understanding of the rules, policies, and regulations that govern athletic programs at their specific level (high school, college, or professional).

  5. Financial Management Skills: Athletic Directors are often responsible for managing budgets, fundraising, and financial planning for the athletic program. Therefore, having strong financial management skills is important.

  6. Interpersonal Skills: Athletic Directors interact with a diverse group of stakeholders, including coaches, student-athletes, parents, school or university administrators, and community members. Having strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships is crucial.

  7. Strong Communication Skills: Athletic Directors must be effective communicators, as they will be responsible for conveying information to various audiences, including staff, student-athletes, parents, and the public.

  8. Problem-Solving Skills: Athletic Directors encounter various challenges and issues that require effective problem-solving skills. They must be able to identify and address problems in a timely and efficient manner.

It is important to note that specific requirements may vary depending on the institution or organization. It is recommended to carefully review the job description and qualifications listed in the job posting for specific details.

Athletic Director Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for an experienced athletic director to help us maintain and develop our sports programs.

Your daily tasks will include supervising sports staff, preparing budgets, and allocating funds to support our sports activities. You’ll also be in charge of administrative tasks, such as scheduling (e.g. leagues, conferences, etc.). To succeed in this job, it’s important to master multitasking and work well under pressure. Previous experience as a manager or leader of a sports program is a must, too.

If you fit this description and you love sports and education, we’d like to hear from you.


  • Monitor general administrative tasks
  • Supervise and guide coaches and other staff
  • Check compliance with established sports rules and governmental health and safety regulations
  • Recruit new employees based on program needs
  • Research new funding opportunities (e.g. governmental)
  • Oversee performance of employees (e.g. annual reviews)
  • Manage budgets and billing reports
  • Overview scheduling of leagues or sport team practices
  • Organize promotional events (e.g. about sports and well-being)
  • Establish positive relationships with parents, students, coaches and other staff


  • Previous experience in a managerial role in sports or relevant field
  • Experience in program management and budgeting
  • In-depth understanding of sports association rules and regulations
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of MS Office
  • Ability to motivate and inspire 
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • A degree in Sports Management or similar field; a Master’s in Management is a plus

What are some qualities of a good Athletic Director?

A good Athletic Director possesses a combination of leadership skills, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of athletic programs in order to successfully oversee and manage the athletic department of an organization. Firstly, strong leadership qualities are paramount. An Athletic Director needs to be able to inspire and motivate coaches, staff, and student-athletes to perform at their best and create a positive and inclusive culture within the department. Secondly, strategic thinking is essential. The ability to develop and execute long-term plans, set goals, and prioritize resources is crucial for the success of the athletic program. A good Athletic Director should also have extensive knowledge of athletic programs, including rules and regulations, recruiting processes, and budgeting. This allows them to make informed decisions, provide guidance to coaches, and ensure compliance with governing bodies. Additionally, effective communication and interpersonal skills are imperative for building relationships with stakeholders, including parents, alumni, and community members. Lastly, adaptability and resilience are crucial in navigating the dynamic and fast-paced world of sports. A good Athletic Director is agile and can quickly adjust strategies to meet the changing needs of the athletic department and the organization as a whole.

What are the salary expectations of Athletic Director?

The salary expectations of an Athletic Director can vary depending on factors such as the level of the institution (high school, college, professional), location, budget, and experience.

On average, the salary for an Athletic Director can range from $50,000 to $150,000 per year. However, at larger and more prestigious institutions, Athletic Directors can earn significantly higher salaries, often exceeding $200,000 per year. In professional sports organizations, the salaries can be even higher, with some Athletic Directors earning millions of dollars annually.

It's important to note that these figures are just estimates and can vary widely. It is always a good idea to research and consider the specific factors that may influence salary expectations in a particular situation.

Who does Athletic Director report to?

Typically, an Athletic Director reports to the school principal or superintendent in the K-12 education setting. In higher education, they may report to the university president or vice president of student affairs.

An Athletic Director works with a variety of individuals and groups, including coaches, athletes, parents, booster clubs, athletic trainers, facilities staff, and other administrators within the school or university. They also collaborate with conference officials, other schools/universities, and sports governing bodies or associations. Additionally, they may work with media personnel, such as sports journalists or broadcasters, as well as community members and sponsors.

Last Updated 29 Sep, 2023

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