Oakland AD Jeff Konya gets extension, big raise

Tony Paul, The Detroit News

On the day one of Michigan's mid-major universities was preparing to introduce its next athletic director, another is locking up its chief executive to a long-term deal.

Oakland University announced Tuesday morning that athletic director Jeff Konya has agreed to extension that will run through 2022, with a raise of about $21,000 a year. Konya, 44, will earn about $210,000 annually under his new deal.

He's the fourth-longest-tenured Division I athletic director in Michigan, behind Kathy Beauregard (Western Michigan), Mark Hollis (Michigan State) and Robert Vowels (Detroit Mercy).

"We have had unprecedented success recently," Konya told The News. "But we have limitless potential and we haven't reached our ceiling."

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Konya, who holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a law degree from Iowa, arrived at Oakland in August 2014, after serving as athletic director at Cal State-Bakersfield from 2010-14. He's also been athletic director at Northeastern State in Oklahoma, and worked at SMU, Memphis, Bucknell and Texas-San Antonio.

The Royal Oak native has brought great visibility to Oakland's Rochester campus, as well as significant national exposure, most notably the creating of the black court at the O'Rena, where the men's basketball team plays.

Konya has led significant fundraising campaigns, and with his marketing and branding skills, developed the program's "Wear the Bear" slogan, a popular hashtag on Twitter.

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This past year, Oakland won its third consecutive McCafferty Trophy, a competition that encompasses all sports in the Horizon League. In March, he was named one of Under Armour's athletic directors of the year.

Also Tuesday, Eastern Michigan was getting set to introduce its new athletic director, Scott Wetherbee, from Mississippi State. He replaces Heather Lyke, who left for Pittsburgh. Central Michigan also will have a new athletic director next month, Michael Alford from Oklahoma State. He succeeds Dave Heeke, who left for the same position at Arizona.