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Campbell taps Bob Roller as new AD
Bob Roller was watching from the stands at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., last March as Butler was forging a major upset of No. 1-seeded Pittsburgh in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
During a break in the action, Roller’s longtime friend and Big South Conference commissioner, Kyle Kallander, told him about a job opportunity at Campbell University. Roller had resigned in November 2010 as athletic director at Samford University after 11 years on the job and was looking for a new challenge.
“Kyle planted the seed,'’ Roller said Wednesday as he was revealed as Campbell’s new director of athletics.
Roller, 50, replaces Stan Williamson, whose contract was not renewed by the university when it ran out May 31. Williamson had held the position since 2000 and oversaw Campbell’s return to college football and $40 million in facility improvements, including the construction of the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center where Roller was introduced as his successor during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Kallander’s suggestion that Roller look into the Campbell job led to two visits to Buies Creek. He first met with the selection committee and then with school President, Dr. Jerry Wallace before being offered the job.
Wallace described Roller’s hiring as a new stage in athletics for the school, which competes at the NCAA Division I level in 20 varsity sports.
“We want to give our coaches and athletes the resources they need to compete for championships,'’ Wallace said. “I believe we have brought in a special person to help us achieve that. The time is now for us.'’
Roller certainly has the resume to support that optimism.
A Virginia native, he earned his degree from Virginia Tech in 1983. Roller spent the next five years working in sports information, both at UNC Wilmington and East Carolina, before becoming Director of Communications for the Orange Bowl in Miami.
After a stint vice president for AdCraft Sports Marketing, Roller was hired to run the athletic booster foundation at Samford. He held that position until 1999 when he was elevated to athletic director.
During his tenure as Samford athletic director, he directed a major upgrade in facilities and help the program transition from the Atlantic Sun to the Southern Conference.
Roller will take over a Campbell program in a similar transition. The Camels will move this fall from the Atlantic Sun back to the Big South Conference for 17 of its 20 varsity sports.
“I believe the Big South is absolutely where Campbell needs to be,'’ Roller said. “My goal is to win Big South championships. I want to make it so there’s no enough room in here (Pope Center) to hang all those championship banners.'’
Roller also promised to be a strong promoter of Campbell athletics throughout the community and region.
“I don’t want to go into a (area) restaurant and see North Carolina or N.C. State hats and not see one of these,'’ Roller said, holding a Campbell baseball cap. “I want to make’em sick of orange and black.'’
By Sammy Batten, The Fayetteville Observer