SAN ANTONIO – On Aug. 12, 2019, the University of the Incarnate Word announced that Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom had left the program after just two years at the helm. In the wake of that abrupt departure, deputy AD Richard Duran stepped up to assume those duties as the interim Athletic Director.
Today, that interim tag has been dropped.
As announced via a press conference Monday morning, UIW President Dr. Thomas M. Evans has officially elevated Duran to the permanent position of Athletic Director. Duran earned the role over the past few months, as the Cardinals have weathered a litany of different challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the rapidly changing political and social climate.
“As interim AD, Richard has demonstrated his willingness to work with all of our campus partners not only for the benefit of the athletic department, but for the university as a whole," Evans said. "He showed us his ability to lead, his dedication to his staff, to our student-athletes and to our UIW mission.”
“I’m very thankful for being the interim Athletic Director for the past 10 months because it allowed me to learn as I went," Duran explained. “Working under Michael Larkin and really getting coached up by him in different leadership aspects and with Dr. Evans as well... They allowed me to make mistakes, learn from my mistakes and learn how to get better. When we made the announcement to the department, just seeing all of the smiles and the genuine happiness from everybody shows me that everybody realizes the hard work that has been done over the past 10 months has really led to this point.”
In spite of difficult circumstances, Duran attacked the job from the very beginning as if he was hired to become the permanent Athletic Director. Now that he has become the youngest Division I AD in the nation at just 31 years old, the biggest question is if there will be any new changes to the department moving forward?
"Nothing is going to change. We’re going to continue to operate in a mission-oriented way for the University and continue to push our coaches and staff to provide the best student-athlete experience possible. I’m very excited about the future.”
In addressing the media, Duran made it clear that he was working with campus doctors and advisors to help keep the student body safe as UIW prepares to reopen this fall. He added that football and volleyball teams are scheduled to report in July.
“I want to say how resilient our student athletes are in moving to online studies," Duran said. "The way that we’re going to move into this new normal is working as a team and continuing to do what is best for our student-athletes and for the health and well-being for all our students at UIW.”