JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne to Retire

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne announced his upcoming retirement on Friday. Bourne, who has served as the school’s AD since 1999, will retire in the spring of 2024. His retirement was first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Bourne will fondly be remembered by JMU fans for helping lead the football program to the FBS. The Dukes’ Sun Belt move is one of Bourne’s crowning achievements, as the Dukes joined the league in 2022 and won eight games in their first FBS season.

He also oversaw the creation of the Atlantic Union Bank Center, a modern basketball facility that’s among the best venues in the Sun Belt.

The Dukes have won multiple national championships with Bourne leading the athletic department, with football (2004 and 2016) and lacrosse (2018) winning titles. The softball team made the Women’s College World Series in 2021.

“I am pleased with the accomplishments we have achieved as a program and the positive impact we have been able to make in the lives of our student-athletes,” Bourne said in a press release. “Our athletic program is in a great place and poised for a bright future, particularly with our overall culture and the people who comprise it. Like every institution in the country, our greatest future challenge will be proactively adapting to the evolution of college athletics.”

Who will replace Bourne?

Bourne’s career was one to remember for JMU fans, as he’s built an athletic department that isn’t just good at football. The Dukes provide sufficient resources and support to their non-football sports, helping JMU set itself apart from many other mid-major programs.

“Jeff’s impact on JMU throughout his career is difficult to put into words,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said in a press release. “Fortunately, there are numerous examples that shine a bright light on his achievements and contributions, from the sustained success of our teams in athletic competition to the accolades our student-athletes regularly receive for their prowess in the classroom. Jeff’s commitment to JMU Athletics for the past 25 years has been felt on campus and across the nation. On behalf of the entire university, I congratulate Jeff on his upcoming retirement and a wonderful career he has had at JMU.”

While fans and administrators praise Bourne’s success, JMU fans might soon feel anxious about the future of the athletic department. The Dukes are thriving on the football field and across multiple sports in part due to Bourne’s steady leadership atop the athletic department.

Bourne is leaving huge shoes to fill.

As for Bourne’s replacement, JMU announced it will “obtain a search firm to lead a national effort to identify Bourne’s successor as the department’s fourth full-time director of athletics.”

Bourne’s tenure at JMU was legendary. Now the administration faces the challenge of replacing a university legend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *