Regis University athletics director selected to lead program at Kansas university

Regis University Director of Athletics and Assistant Vice President David Spafford will depart next month to become the next Director of Athletics at Emporia State University, a Division II public university in Kansas, the University announced today.

A national search will begin immediately to identify the next athletics director for Regis.

The move to ESU, in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), will be a homecoming for Spafford, who is a native of Belleville, Kansas. He has had previous administrative stops at Wichita State University (2000-2004), Kansas State University (1994-2000, 2013-2015), and University of Missouri-Kansas City (1991-1994) during his 22-year career as a NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II administrator.

Spafford first joined Regis’ University Advancement office in 2015 before being promoted to Director of Athletics in January 2016. Regis Athletics took major strides forward during Spafford’s tenure by raising $6.4 million in private funding and use agreements and renovating the 62-year-old Regis Field House. The refurbishment provided a renovated strength and conditioning room, new indoor hitting facility for baseball and softball, a ticket office, new video scoreboards and sound system and new administrative offices.

The athletic department has also added in 2020 the Berce Athletic Center — a $3.1 million, 19,500 square-foot, multi-functional practice facility — and the new artificial turf fields in 2022. The fields provided modernized and enhanced fields and lights for the Regis soccer, lacrosse, and rugby teams, while offering a state-of-the-art venue for the Arrupe Jesuit High School boys and girls soccer teams.

“I feel very fortunate to have been selected to lead Regis Athletics six and a half years ago. It has been a very rewarding, challenging experience that provided many opportunities for me to grow professionally and personally,” Spafford said. “We have been able to enhance our student-athletes’ overall experiences through new facilities and overall support to our programs. We’ve also been able to provide student-athletes the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, many of them wearing a championship ring and with a new opportunity in front of them.”

Regis also had competition success, with the Ranger teams combining to win 13 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season or tournament championships and to make 12 NCAA Tournament appearances since 2016. The lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division II national semifinals in both 2018 and 2019 while the Ranger volleyball team made the national semifinals in 2019 after reaching the Elite Eight in 2018.

The lacrosse team advanced to the NCAA Division II national semifinals in both 2018 and 2019 while the Ranger volleyball team made the national semifinals in 2019 after reaching the Elite Eight in 2018.

The Rangers’ success on the field helped the department improved from 242nd place in the Learfield Cup Standings in 2016 to as high as 97th in 2018.

“I would like to thank Interim President Cody Teets for all of her support, [former Vice President for Advancement] Jason Caniglia, [former Vice President for Enrollment Management] Roby Blust and past President Fr. Fitzgibbons for the opportunity to lead the Athletic Department at Regis University,” Spafford said. “I’d also like to give a special thank you to Chief of Staff Terri Campbell for her leadership, partnership, and guidance. I am very proud of our student-athletes and staff as we have managed success competitively, academically and for service to others while navigating through a cyber-attack and global pandemic.”


About Regis University

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit Catholic tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, has three campus locations in the Denver metro area and extensive online program offerings with more than 6,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit