Aztecs hire John David Wicker as new athletic director

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San Diego State Athletic Director John David Wicker

SAN DIEGO – San Diego State University Monday announced the hiring of John David Wicker as athletic director, replacing Jim Sterk, who departed for the University of Missouri in August.

Wicker was an associate athletic director at SDSU for four years before leaving for Georgia Tech last year.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman said Wicker was chosen after a six-week search.

“When we began the search, we envisioned a person who cares about our student-athletes, whose integrity is paramount and whose competitive fire will inspire greatness,” Hirshman said. “In short, we envisioned a person who embodies our ideal of winning it right. John David Wicker is that person.”

Wicker said he’s returning to an athletic program experiencing “unprecedented success across all facets of the program, both academically and athletically.”

As a group, student-athletes posted an all-time high grade-point average of 3.01 last spring, and 60 percent of them were named scholar-athletes, he said.

Athletically, the Aztecs football team leads its division in the Mountain West conference, was ranked as high as No. 19 in the polls earlier this season and features the nation’s leading rusher in Donnel Pumphrey.

Wicker pointed out that the men’s basketball team is picked to win the conference, and the men’s soccer team defeated a top-ranked opponent last month.

The program continues to face financial pressure in the changing landscape of collegiate athletics, as athletic departments in the five power conferences make significantly more television revenue than Mountain West members.

SDSU was one of around 20 schools that applied for membership to the Big 12 — a “power five” league — but the presidents of conference members ultimately opted to not expand.

Wicker called fundraising the “lifeblood” of the athletic program.