JMU Seeks New President and Athletic Director

Image courtesy of JMU

By Bennett Conlin

JMU President Jonathan Alger is stepping down to take the same position at American University, the school announced Monday. Alger will officially leave his position at JMU on July 1, 2024.

Alger spent 12 years as JMU’s president, and the school found unprecedented athletic success during his tenure.

“Our athletics program made the most successful transition in history from the FCS to the FBS level in Division I and has been strikingly successful across the board,” Alger said in a lengthy statement about his departure. “The university is on sound financial footing and is known for being extremely well managed and a strong value for students. Our student experience is also second to none. There are many reasons why the moniker, ‘The Everything School,’ has caught on so quickly.”

Alger and Athletic Director Jeff Bourne formed a formidable duo, helping lead the Dukes into the Sun Belt in recent years. Bourne is also retiring this spring, and the search for a new athletic director is underway. It’s expected that AD candidates will be on campus in April for interviews.

Alger shared that the Board of Visitors will name an acting president in the coming weeks, and that person will begin on July 1. During that time, the Board of Visitors will search for the new university president.

JMU’s new president and AD will take over a school thriving in athletics. The Dukes are competitive across numerous sports, including football and men’s basketball. The football team won 11 games in 2023, while men’s basketball qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.

While JMU is succeeding on the field, the college athletics landscape is rapidly changing. Student-athletes could soon become university employees, and NIL and the transfer portal have essentially created offseason free agency.

Whoever JMU hires to fill the role of president and athletic director will have to guide the Dukes through a tumultuous time in college sports.

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