Former Kansas University senior associate athletic director Richard Konzem, who worked as athletic director at Benedictine College the last year and a half, has been named AD at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo.
Konzem, who starts his new job Dec. 3, replaces Frank Diskin, who has served as AD at the Jesuit school the past 22 years. Konzem is the school's fourth AD since 1941.
"It was really a difficult decision to leave. I really enjoyed Benedictine - the coaches and people there - but this was an opportunity to get back into intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA level," Konzem said Thursday night.
Benedictine is an NAIA school; Rockhurst is NCAA Div. II.
"That is the world I operated in for over 20 years at KU," Konzem said of NCAA sports. "I thought this sounded like a great opportunity. There are some great programs at Rockhurst, including soccer, volleyball and baseball which has been very good. Basketball won the national championship in the 1960s. We want to make sure it remains a feature sport."
Konzem directed an athletic department consisting of 17 sports and 475 athletes at Benedictine, which is located in Atchison. Prior to joining Benedictine, Konzem served 23 years in various capacities at KU, including interim AD in 2001. He was a part of the KU athletics staff during six NCAA Final Four appearances in basketball, three bowl games and a College World Series in both baseball and softball.
As senior associate AD at KU, Konzem's duties included supervising men's and women's basketball, football, baseball, the Williams Educational Fund with $5 million in annual scholarship donations, athletic ticket staff and the events and facilities staff.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to become a part of the Rockhurst University community," said Konzem, who makes his home in Lawrence. "I look forward to the challenge of continuing the tradition of athletic success at Rockhurst."
Thomas B. Curran, president of Rockhurst, said the school was thrilled to have Konzem aboard.
"Jesuit universities take a holistic approach to education, so athletics play an important role in the formation of our students," Curran said. "Richard Konzem's experience and leadership will be invaluable in fulfilling this important aspect of our mission."
Konzem serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He recently completed terms on the Sunflower State Games Board of Directors, the United Way and the City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Konzem and his wife, Debbie, chaired the 2006 United Way Campaign in Lawrence, raising $1.65 million.