TU welcomes back Rick Dickson (BS ’77) as interim athletic director

Rick Dickson, a Tulsa native who led The University of Tulsa’s athletics program in the early 1990s, has been named interim director of athletics by TU Interim President Janet K. Levit.

Rick Dickson, Director of AthleticsDickson’s prolific career includes five years as athletic director at The University of Tulsa from 1990 to 1994 before leading athletic programs at Washington State University (1994-2000) and Tulane University (2000-2015). Programs under Dickson’s leadership saw dozens of conference championships and scores well above the national average in the NCAA’s Academic Performance Rates.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Rick’s caliber during this transition to lead our student-athletes and Athletics Department,” Levit said. “His rich history with our university and community gives him the tools to hit the ground running in support of our student-athletes, coaches, trainers and staff.”

Dickson, who attended Tulsa’s Bishop Kelley High School and played football for the Golden Hurricane before graduating from TU in 1977, said he is excited to re-engage with the community and work with TU’s coaches, staff and student-athletes. His wife, Brenda, graduated from TU in 1979.

“Our love for this university and the City of Tulsa runs deep,” he said. “I look forward to working with everyone in the department re-energizing the commitment to achieve our goals, on the athletic field and in the classroom and the community.”

The University of Tulsa sponsors 17 sports, including 10 women’s (basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) and seven men’s (basketball, cross country, football, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, soccer and tennis). The university has been a member of the American Athletic Conference since July 2014.

Under Dickson’s tenure in the early 1990s, Tulsa’s football program landed a berth in the Freedom Bowl in 1991 and the men’s basketball program saw Sweet-16 success in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament under coach Tubby Smith, who Dickson hired. Before leaving Tulsa for Washington State in 1994, Dickson helped the university secure membership in the Western Athletic Conference.

At Washington State, Dickson oversaw an athletics program that was recognized nationally for its success in dealing with gender equity issues. He raised funds for a capital campaign the funded scholarships and endowments, an indoor practice facility and the renovation of Bohler Gymnasium. Washington State enjoyed its highest ever Sears Cup Ranking during his tenure, highlighted in 1998 by the football team’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 67 years.

While at Tulane, Dickson is credited with helping the athletic program and community rebound after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Teams under his tenure won 41 conference titles and advanced to NCAA postseason play 36 times.

Following a 2003 Board Review that resulted in a unanimous resolution reaffirming the institution’s Div-1A status. Dickson assumed the task of building a permanent foundation of support for Tulane Athletics through the Perpetual Wave Campaign. During the review, Dickson guided the department through an intense campaign that saw football season ticket sales more than triple as well as secure funding for the new Greer Baseball Field, Yulman Football Stadium, Devlin Fieldhouse, The Hertz Center and numerous other facilities and program updates.

Following his retirement in 2016, Dickson formed R.P. Dickson Consulting LLC, which has assisted many universities with multiple projects including Title IX reviews, departmental organization, fundraising and marketing campaigns and facility development.

In 2019, Dickson accepted a year-long role as the CFP New Orleans ambassador, serving the Extra Yards for Teachers Campaign that supports public school teachers of New Orleans.

Dickson replaces Derrick Gragg, who led Tulsa athletics since 2013 and announced in August he was leaving TU for a position at the NCAA as senior vice president for inclusion, education and community engagement.