New leadership announced in athletics


(Video by Cliff Hollis)

ECU News Services

Jeff Compher, associate vice president and director of athletics at Northern Illinois University with a record of academic success and winning championships, has been selected as the new athletics director at East Carolina University.

Compher was introduced March 6 during a news conference at the Murphy Center on East Carolina’s campus.

“Jeff Compher is a proven leader in moving an entire athletic department forward,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “He has great values, great experience, and national recognition among his peers. We are delighted he is a Pirate.”

Compher has agreed to a five-year contract with ECU and will begin his duties May 1.

New Pirate Club director announced

A former college athlete and proven fundraiser for athletics has been named the new senior associate athletics director and executive director of the Pirate Club at East Carolina University.

J. Batt, who was previously the associate athletics director and executive director of the Terrapin Club at the University of Maryland, has been selected to lead the Pirate Club, formally known as the ECU Educational Foundation, which raises funds for athletic scholarships, facility improvements and program needs.

Batt joined the Terrapin Club staff in 2009 and has served as executive director since September 2011. He directed its 2011-12 annual fund drive raising more than $9 million in scholarship support, representing a 12 percent increase year-over-year.

“It is an exciting time to be a part of ECU Athletics! I look forward to working with Chancellor Ballard, Jeff Compher and the Pirate Club Board of Directors to take Pirate athletics and the Pirate Club to even higher levels of success,” said Batt.

“I would like to thank the search committee, the members of the Board of Trustees, and especially Chancellor Ballard for this outstanding opportunity to lead the ECU Athletics Department,” Compher said.

“I believe ECU is poised for greatness and I am thrilled to be a part of the Pirate Nation. North Carolina has always been home for our family and the city of Greenville holds a special place in our hearts. We look forward to getting to know the student-athletes, coaches and staff as well as the many fans and supporters of ECU athletics.


Robert Lucas, chairman of the ECU Board of Trustees and a member of the search committee, said Compher emerged quickly as a top choice.

“Jeff Compher brings to East Carolina a record of outstanding success at NIU, specifically winning championships,” Lucas said. “That’s evidenced, among other things, by the football program’s appearance in the Orange Bowl in 2012. He also is a leader who brings very strong communication skills and, because he has spent so much time in North Carolina, has great contacts and knowledge of the state and the people.”

Compher succeeds Terry Holland as the chief executive of ECU’s athletics division.

A native of Baltimore, Md., Compher is an alumnus of James Madison University and began his career at N.C. State University, where he held varied roles in athletics for 13 years. He has been at NIU since 2008, where he led a program with strong academic and athletic performance and oversaw successful private fundraising.

A 15-member search committee, chaired by Lucas, selected Compher after working with national consultant Chuck Neinas and Neinas Sports Services. The trustees approved his appointment today in a meeting before the announcement.

While work continues on the details of his contract, Compher has agreed in principle to an annual salary of $415,000, along with bonuses for athletic, academic and compliance performance by the program, for fundraising and for retention. The funding for his contract comes from non-state appropriated funds, including the East Carolina Educational Foundation, known as the Pirate Club.