JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In 2016, Jacksonville University named Alex Ricker-Gilbert their Athletic Director, making the then 28-year-old administrator one of the youngest Division I ADs in the country.
On Thursday, Jacksonville University President Tim Cost announced a new title and five-year contract for Ricker-Gilbert, now the Senior Vice President & Athletic Director.
"Alex has done a tremendous job creating excellence in the department through active and engaged leadership," Cost said. "He's professional, organized and decisive. During his time as Athletic Director, our more than 500 Division I student-athletes have achieved unprecedented success in the classroom and at graduation, we have substantially upgraded our athletics branding, fundraising and sponsorships, and we have enhanced our fans' game-day and ongoing experience."
Ricker-Gilbert began his career at JU by leading their compliance department. On May 1, 2016, he officially took over as the university’s Athletic Director.
“I want to thank President Cost and the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees for providing me the opportunity to continue to lead our athletic department into the future," Ricker-Gilbert said. "I love this university, our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We have made substantial progress as a department over the last two years, but we have a long way to go and I couldn't be more excited about the challenge. There is nowhere in the country I'd rather be than at Jacksonville University."
Additionally, Ricker-Gilbert helped secure a significant private contribution that fully funded the first-ever nutritional station for Dolphin student-athletes: JU Fuel. He also worked tirelessly to secure the funds that catapulted the development of the Jacksonville Lacrosse Center (JLC), the largest of its kind in the nation.
The investment in the student-athletes has paid off with outstanding success both in and out of the classroom, university officials said.
Jacksonville University was awarded the ASUN Presidents' Academic Trophy for the 2017-18 academic year following a record-breaking performance in the classroom by the Dolphins and the rest of the league as a whole. All 19 of Jacksonville's teams recorded a 3.0 GPA or higher for the 2017-18 academic year for the first time in department history. Additionally, 17 teams improved their GPA from the 2016-17 academic year, 12 teams achieved their highest semester GPA during the 2017-18 academic year, and nine teams reached their highest GPA ever. In total, Jacksonville student-athletes combined for a 3.30 departmental GPA for the 2017-18 academic year.
"In my time at Jacksonville University, I have seen a colossal shift in not only the status of the athletic department, but more importantly the trajectory of our future," head men's lacrosse coach John Galloway said. "This positive change is a direct reflection of our leadership. Alex Ricker-Gilbert has empowered every member of this department, and his vision has reinvigorated athletics at JU. The entire campus community is blessed to keep Alex as he continues to pursue a student-centered experience for our teams. Selfishly, I am just thankful that I will have the privilege of continuing to work for my mentor and friend as he leads us into a new age of JU Athletics."
New construction projects are underway at JU, including a new Jacksonville Lacrosse Center (JLC), a new Athletics office and basketball practice facility, the completion of the Williams Hall residential complex, refurbished and updated classrooms and study spaces, a new Academic Health Sciences Center, and a new Welcome Center. The projects represent more than $50 million in investment across campus.