Rick Hart was named SMU’s Director of Athletics on July 16, 2012. He developed and installed the Strategic Plan for SMU Athletics, “The SMU Advantage,” comprising a departmental vision, mission, values and goals that focus on a principle of S.P.I.R.I.T. (Service, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork).
During Hart’s tenure on the Hilltop, SMU student-athletes have excelled in the classroom. In 2016-17, 269 of SMU’s 413 student-athletes held cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher – over 65% of the student-athlete population.
They also have excelled athletically. From 2012 to 2017, the Mustangs won 17 conference team championships and consistently finished among the leaders in the American Athletic Conference, with eight sports finishing in the top two of their respective conference in 2016-17. Eleven of SMU’s 17 teams were then represented in postseason competition. SMU student-athletes won 20 individual conference championships and earned 81 All-Conference honors last season alone.
In addition, SMU teams have connected with the community. Mustang student-athletes logged more than 2,000 community service hours in the 2016-17 academic year, exceeding the equivalent of an entire year’s worth of work. The community has responded to SMU as well, increasing attendance at events and donations to the department.
During Hart’s tenure, SMU has renovated and expanded Moody Coliseum and opened the Miller Event Center, SMU Tennis Complex, Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium, and the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center at Trinity Forest Golf Club, home of the AT&T Byron Nelson. SMU has also broken ground on the SMU Indoor Performance Center.
Hart has served on the NACDA Executive Committee, the NCAA Division I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet, the FCS Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee and as a faculty member for the D1-A Athletics Directors' Institute. He is an active speaker and has made presentations at the Career in Sports Seminar, the NACDA Leadership Institute, the Texas High School Athletic Directors’ Association and the Dallas Women’s Club, among others.
Hart came to SMU after six years as Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He served seven years at the University of Oklahoma in various athletics administrative capacities, ending as Senior Associate Athletics Director in 2006. He has also worked in athletics for the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University and has served with the U.S. Olympic Committee.
A 1994 graduate of UNC, Hart earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, Health and Sport Science. Hart and his wife, Allison, also a graduate of North Carolina, are the proud parents of Trevor and Caroline.
Hart is a third-generation athletics administrator. His father, Dave, served as Director of Athletics at the University of Tennessee, and his late grandfather, Dave Sr., served in a variety of roles within collegiate athletics, including a stint as the Commissioner of the Southern Conference from 1987-91.