Heller Added to Staff as Associate AD for Development
Courtesy: Jason Kaufman/CMU Athletics
“Bob’s base of experience is very wide and has included nearly every aspect of an athletics department,” remarked Director of Athletics Dave Heeke. “He is a proven leader not only among our conference peers but also in the industry on a national scale. I am confident he will be a great resource and addition to our staff and will serve our supporters with the utmost care.”
Heller, who most recently served as senior associate athletics director at Kent State, is primarily responsible for securing major gifts to support the Chippewas’ 16 sport programs. He also assists with the fund-raising campaign for the new Events Center and is a major part of the department’s capital gift program.
“The opportunity to work for Dave Heeke and be part of the success that Central Michigan University has seen across the board in its broad-based program is what enticed me,” said Heller. “CMU is certainly one of the leaders, if not the leader, in the Mid-American Conference in both academic and athletic success.
“We want to maintain the success that has already been established and be able to compete on a national level in every sport,” continued Heller. “The accomplishments of our student-athletes both in the classroom and in competition, and the facility enhancements that have taken shape, are all a direct reflection of the strong leadership Dave has provided and the outstanding donor support we have. Our donors recognize the commitment CMU is making to our student-athletes and their support will enable our success to continue to grow.”
Heller spent a total of 11 years at Kent State, including the last five as senior associate athletics director, being directly involved with the strategic planning of the department’s compliance, finance, facilities, marketing, personnel, diversity, equity and fund-raising initiatives. He had immediate sport oversight of the volleyball, baseball and men’s basketball programs, having responsibility for each program’s personnel evaluation, contract, budget, academic progress, scheduling and daily operations.
He was also an ex officio member of the department’s development council and assisted the development staff with the cultivation and raising of endowed scholarships and other aid awards. Heller joined the Kent State staff in 1999 as the assistant athletic director for compliance, a position he held for two years before being promoted to associate athletics director in 2000.
A former student-athlete, teacher and coach, Heller began his administrative career as a graduate assistant at East Stroudsburg University in 1989. He served at Lenoir-Rhyne College as its coordinator of special events, director of intramurals and compliance coordinator from 1990-95, then spent four years as assistant to the athletic director at Slippery Rock University, overseeing both compliance and facilities from 1995-99.
Previous to working as an administrator in athletics, Heller spent six years (1984-90) as the head men’s cross country and assistant men’s track and field coach at Kutztown University, where he coached six all-Americans and eighteen Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference place finishers. In 1988 he was recognized as the NCAA East Regional Cross Country “Coach of the Year” by the NCAA Division II Coaches Association after leading his squad to the national championships for the first time in the program’s history. During that time he was also a special education teacher at Northeast Middle School in Reading, Pa.
Heller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in special education from Kutztown State College in 1981 and completed his Master of Education degree in health and physical education, with a concentration in sports administration, from East Stroudsburg University in 2002.
He and his wife, Mary Ellen, have three children – two sons Bobby (23) and Michael (20) and their oldest, Mary Beth, who is married to Greg Lambach.