The Arizona Board of Regents approved a contract extension and raise for University of Arizona Athletics Director Dave Heeke at its April 7 meeting.
Heeke's current contract runs through March 2023 and is now extended by two years — through March 2025. His $10,000 a year raise bumps his base pay to $895,000 by March 31, 2025.
The raise makes Heeke the 35th-highest-paid athletic director among the 65 schools in Power Five conferences, UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins told ABOR on Thursday.
“[Heeke] has certainly been an incredible partner to me since the day I arrived here,” Robbins said.
He credited Heeke, 58, for his role in Arizona sports teams' success — both on and off the field — over the last five years as athletics director. In the spring 2021 semester, student-athletes set the highest overall GPA ever with a 3.172 GPA. In the previous semester, 91 student-athletes earned a 4.0 GPA as well.
“Coaching hires have been tremendous and I don’t recommend this for any university,” Robbins said. “But last year in the span of about six months, [Heeke] made five major hires.”
These new coaches included: Arizona men’s basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd, who led the team to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2017; Arizona football head coach Jedd Fisch, who has a top-20 recruiting team for the upcoming season; Arizona softball head coach Caitlin Lowe, an Olympic silver medalist and four-time All-American; Arizona soccer head coach Becca Moros, who led the team to the Southeastern Conference; and Arizona baseball head coach Chip Hale, who led the Washington Nationals to a World Series win in 2019.
Robbins also stressed the importance of Heeke retaining Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes, who led the team to the Final Four last year and the NCAA Tournament again this year.
Robbins went on to reemphasize Heeke’s accomplishments and focus on the academic well-being of student-athletes at the UA, which Regent Ron Shoopman spoke up to agree with.
“ … your focus on the right things: academic performance as well as athletic performance, and improving the culture of a department that was in need of some change, quite honestly,” Shoopman said. “You’ve done a great job at that, and I wholeheartedly support this increase and extension. We’d like to keep you for a long time. Thank you for your good work.”
The board then unanimously approved Heeke’s new contract extension and raise. Heeke will also receive several additional benefits listed in the new contract, including several home game season tickets for various Arizona sports and 65 air charter seats and tickets for football and men's basketball games.
Heeke thanked the regents and his staff for playing a role in the athletic department's success.
“We look forward to a bright future,” Heeke said. “So thank you very much for your confidence.”
Follow JT Thorpe on Twitter