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Director of Athletics Lee Moon announces retirement

moon headshotAfter 55 years in college athletics, including the last 12 years serving as University of North Florida Director of Athletics, Lee Moon has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2021.

Moon, who was introduced as UNF’s sixth athletic director in 2009, took the mantle of the Osprey Athletics department and skillfully guided it from the NCAA Division I transitional phase to a competitive and championship-producing Division I program.

“God has blessed me throughout my career with the opportunity of working alongside amazing people at some pretty special places,” said UNF Director of Athletics Lee Moon. “I am truly thankful and appreciative to everybody who has supported and helped mold me into the person I am. I hope during my career that I made a difference and was a positive impact on all the people I have been so fortunate to come in contact with, especially the many coaches and student athletes.”  

During his tenure, the UNF Ospreys became one of the top programs in the ASUN claiming 46 regular season and tournament championships. In addition, UNF teams made 81 NCAA postseason appearances in team and individual competitions.

Over the past 12 seasons, UNF Athletics produced 41 ASUN Players of the Year, 31 ASUN Freshmen of the Year, 32 ASUN Coaches of the Year, 880 All-ASUN selections and 148 ASUN All-Freshmen honorees.

Under Moon’s leadership, the Ospreys became a balanced and successful department consistently finishing among the top challengers in the Bill Bibb Trophy standings, the all-sports race among ASUN Conference teams. UNF finished among the top three teams in eight seasons. UNF claimed the Men's All-Sports Championship crown four times and has been among the top three nine times, while also finishing in the top three of the Women’s All-Sports Championship three times.

His passion and competitive fire led the Ospreys to a streak of dominance in the River City Rumble, their annual competition with crosstown rival Jacksonville University. UNF claimed eight of the last 10 titles in the River City Rumble, capped by a victory margin of 25-5 over the past two seasons.

Moon's impact has been felt not only on the playing fields and courts but also in the classroom. UNF student-athletes raised their academic performance levels to historic heights with the Ospreys regularly boasting a cumulative department GPA at or above a 3.0. UNF Athletics has maintained a cumulative department GPA of 3.0 or higher for 19 consecutive semesters. All 19 varsity teams have boasted cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher in eight of the last nine semesters. UNF produced 182 ASUN All-Academic Selections highlighted by 20 ASUN Scholar Athletes of the Year.

“For the past 12 years, Coach Lee Moon has served the University with great distinction, integrity and devotion to our student-athletes, coaches and athletic programming," said UNF President David Szymanski. “Under his leadership, UNF Athletics has fostered a strong culture of athletic excellence, high academic achievement and great respect that has directly contributed to the remarkable growth and success of UNF’s sports programs. His legacy will leave a long-lasting impact on our Osprey community.”

During his tenure at UNF, Moon also created an engaging fan-friendly game atmosphere resulting in increased attendance for all of the department’s athletic programs. UNF's teams regularly rank among the ASUN leaders in home attendance and tallied a program record mark of 2,856 per game average in men's basketball in 2015-2016.

His time at UNF has seen the addition of two new varsity programs: beach volleyball and women’s golf. Moon has also overseen upgrades to nearly all of the Ospreys’ home venues. He spearheaded the funding for enhancements at the UNF Arena, which included a state-of-the-art, four-sided, center-hung video display scoreboard and 40-foot digital scorer's tables along the sideline. The program made digital enhancements with new video scoreboards at baseball and softball for the 2018 season.

Over the past couple seasons, Moon played a key role in securing funds for several facility upgrade projects including the completion of the Cooper Beach Volleyball Complex, elevated stadium seating and a press box for the UNF Softball complex and the soon to be completed UNF Aquatic Center.

In the spring of 2012, Moon was a part of another shining moment when UNF’s Hodges Stadium hosted the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East preliminary meet. Additionally, UNF served as repeat host for the East Preliminary for three years from 2014-2016 as well as 2019 and has been chosen again to host the event this May 2021.

A veteran of collegiate administration, Moon’s career featured executive level positions with several other universities including: senior associate athletics director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2003-2009), director of athletics at Wyoming (1996-2003) and Marshall (1988-1996), and assistant athletics director (1985-1986) and associate athletics director (1986-1988) at Kansas State.

Moon is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in history in 1970. While at VMI, Moon was a member of the school’s football team from 1966-1969. He later went on to play semi-pro football for the Roanoke Buckskins before earning his master of education degree at the University of Virginia in 1971.

After serving as a graduate assistant coach for the Virginia football team during the 1972 and 1973 seasons, Moon served as an assistant football coach at Duke (1973-1976), Virginia (1976-1981), Mississippi State (1982-1984) and Kansas State (1985), where he was named the interim head football coach and also served as the assistant director of operations for the football team.

Throughout his career, Moon served on various NCAA leadership committees including the Division I Athletic Directors Association Executive Committee, the NCAA Football Issues Committee and the NCAA I-AA Football Committee, as well as serving as chair of the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Committee.

Earlier this year, Moon was named an Athletic Director of the Year (ADOY) for the Division I-AAA level by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

The University will commence an internal search to fill the position shortly.