The University of Maine has turned to a veteran college administrator with success as a fundraiser to become its new athletic director.

Jude Killy, 50, the deputy director of athletics at Miami University in Ohio, will take over as UMaine’s athletic director on Jan. 30, the school announced Wednesday.

Jude Killy

He replaces Ken Ralph, who left Maine when his contract expired at the end of August to take the same post at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Ralph was hired by Maine in 2018 on a four-year contact with an annual salary of $214,000.

Killy has a five-year contract at UMaine with an annual salary of $250,000. His hire comes as the school has recently launched an ambitious decade-long plan to upgrade athletic facilities.

“I am thrilled to be the next AD, to represent our staff, coaches and students, and to help support the entire campus and community,” Killy said in a news release from UMaine. “The University of Maine is an amazing institution with unique attributes. UMaine Athletics is an iconic brand. It has tremendous academic and athletic prowess. I cannot wait to get to work and it will be my privilege to serve the Division I flagship institution for the state.”

Attempts to speak with Killy were unsuccessful Wednesday. A spokesperson at Miami University said he is in the Bahamas with the school’s football team, which is scheduled to play in the Bahamas Bowl on Friday. UMaine said Killy will appear at a news conference in Orono on Tuesday.


A graduate of John Carroll University, where he played soccer for two seasons, Killy has held various jobs in Miami’s athletic administration since joining the department in 2008. Killy has been the school’s deputy director of athletics since 2018. His duties include overseeing a budget of $32 million, negotiating contracts and conducting searches for new head coaches. By comparison, the UMaine athletic budget is approximately $19 million.

Killy’s experience and track record in fundraising was obviously a selling point to UMaine’s selection committee. During his time at Miami, Killy helped to secure three of the largest cash gifts to athletic department, ranging from $4 million to $6 million. As UMaine looks to raise additional funds to supplement the $90 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation to be used toward athletic facilities upgrades, success in fundraising was a key piece of the hiring process.

Samantha Hegmann-Wary, Maine’s associate athletic director for compliance and senior woman administrator, has served as the interim athletic director since September. She spent time with Killy while giving him a tour of the athletic facilities during a visit to campus. Hegmann-Wary said she was impressed by the homework Killy had done on UMaine.

“He asked a lot of questions. Good, thoughtful questions,” Hegmann-Wary said. “I thought Jude really has a big, leadership presence about him.”

Hegmann-Wary said Killy was prepared with answers to questions about the ongoing facilities upgrades and fundraising, and when meeting with staff, was able to ask questions specific to their needs in the athletic department.

Hegmann-Wary said Killy’s experience working in every corner of an athletic department was a strong selling point. In his time at Miami, Killy held five jobs in the department. Prior to that, Killy was director of athletic development operations and director of the athletic department’s annual fund at the University of Pittsburgh.


“He has literally done everything in a department. He’s touched it all,” she said.

Amy Vachon, head coach of the UMaine women’s basketball team, was on the search committee that reviewed and interviewed candidates for the job. Vachon declined to say specifically what impressed the committee about Killy, but did express enthusiasm with the choice.

“I’m just excited. I think he’s a great leader,” Vachon said. “He’s authentic, and I think he’s the right person to move us along. He’s just a worker, and he wants the best for his student-athletes. He’s excited to be here and we’re thrilled to have him.”

UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said in the news release: “This is such an extraordinary time for UMaine Athletics and the state of Maine. The $90 million challenge grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, the high-caliber coaches and support staff, and the tremendous roster of talented student-athlete leaders are just a few of the many reasons we are excited for the future of UMaine Athletics. We look forward to Jude’s leadership in Division I athletics and in fundraising as the athletics master plan.”

Killy will become the Black Bears’ ninth athletic director, including three interim ADs, since 2003.

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