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Darryl Sims

After a highly competitive national search, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has chosen Darryl Sims as its new athletics director, effective Aug. 16.

Sims, who has served as the assistant director of athletics at UW Oshkosh since 2007, succeeds Allen Ackerman, who recently announced his retirement from the athletics director position after 19 years. The selection concludes a two-month search that involved more than 60 applicants from across the country.

“Darryl Sims’ long and successful careers, first as a collegiate and professional athlete and then as a coach, as well as his proven understanding of the importance of the student athlete-coach relationship set him apart from the other three excellent finalists,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells. “Furthermore, Darryl gained valuable athletics administration experience under the mentorship of Al Ackerman, a nationally acclaimed Division III athletics director. In spite of some very tough competition, Darryl distinguished himself as the best match for UW Oshkosh.”

Prior to coming to UW Oshkosh, Sims earned a football scholarship to the UW-Madison, playing four seasons in the Badgers’ defensive line and collected All-Big Ten Conference first team honors in 1981 and 1982. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1985 and 1986 and for the Cleveland Browns in 1987 and 1988.

Sims joined the UW Oshkosh community in 1998 as a part-time assistant football coach. He then acquired a part-time fundraising position, helping to increase resources for the intercollegiate athletics department’s daily operations. In that role, he became a charter member of a development team that went on to raise $10.5 million for the Oshkosh Sports Complex. He also assisted with the solicitation of major corporate sponsorships from J. J. Keller & Associates and the Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau.

While working for the University, Sims earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communications in 2003 and a master’s degree in educational leadership in 2005, both from UW Oshkosh. He also participated in summer coaching internships with four NFL teams and was one of 11 candidates to graduate from the highly esteemed National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Fellows Leadership Development Program for 2009-2010.

After serving as the defensive coordinator for NFL Europe’s Amsterdam Admirals, Sims left UW Oshkosh in 2005 to become the head football coach of Cologne Centurions. Following the closure of NFL Europe in 2007, he returned to UW Oshkosh as the assistant director of athletics, contributing to the management and fundraising efforts of the University’s 21-sport department, supervising eight sports and coordinating game-day activities for several others while at the same working with the corporate sponsor program. He recently gained the support of AT&T Advertising Solutions, which allowed the University to complete the renovations of its softball facility.

“The search committee of faculty, staff, students and community members did an outstanding job with this search and identified exceptional candidates for the position. It was the depth and breadth of Darryl Sims’ experiences, particularly in fundraising  and ‘friend-raising,’ coaching, administration and leadership, coupled with his passion for Division III athletics and his focus on the development and success of student athletes, make him the best fit for UW Oshkosh,” said Petra Roter, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. “Darryl’s record and accomplishments speak for themselves. We know he will build on the department’s solid foundation and take UW Oshkosh athletics to even greater heights.”

At UW Oshkosh, Sims has been a member of organizations examining student retention and the restructuring of the Student Affairs Division. Beyond the University, he is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Oshkosh, a liaison board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, and a member of the NCAA Division III Interpretation and Legislation Committee.

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be named the new director of athletics at UW Oshkosh. Chancellor Wells and his administration have an extremely strong vision for this University, and I look forward to building on the already remarkable success of its nationally acclaimed athletics program,” Sims said. “This will be a period of important growth for us, but I believe that UW Oshkosh has an excellent coaching staff, great student-athletes and a campus environment where athletics can be a part of every student’s life as well as an expression of institutional excellence through intercollegiate competition.”

Sims, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., lives in Oshkosh with his wife Carla. He will begin his new appointment on Aug. 16.

  • UW Oshkosh has won 42 national champions, including 27 NCAA Division III competitions. For more information about UWO athletics, visit