In February 2014, the University of Maine athletics department hired Karlton Creech, the former University of North Carolina Senior Associate Director of Athletics from 2012 to 2014. He served as Chief of Staff, overseeing the department’s capital projects, human resources and facilities. He was hired as an at-will employee under a letter of appointment for Orono, meaning the university could let him go at any time.
Last week, Creech signed a four-year contract with the university’s athletics department, keeping him in Orono until 2021. The contract will take effect on Feb. 10. With the new contract, both Creech and the university are given more responsibility. If Creech decides to leave the department, he has to pay a buyout of $100,000 in years one and two, a $50,000 buyout in year three and nothing in year four. If he is fired without cause, UMaine would have to pay his one-year salary.
At this point in time, Creech is receiving $183,855 from the university. However, private donations will provide $25,000 in annual supplements over the next four years to bring him into a “nationally competitive range.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue leading Maine athletics,” Creech said in a university press release. “My time at Maine has been the best of my career. Thank you to President Hunter and University of Maine for entrusting me with this responsibility. I look forward to working with our great team of student-athletes, coaches and staff in the coming years as we pursue excellence.”
In Creech’s time at the university, he has seen many successes both inside and outside of the athletic arena, including a 2016 America East conference title for the softball team, back-to-back regular-season championships and Women’s National Invitation Tournament appearances for women’s basketball.
Under Creech, the university has also seen an increase in student-athlete’s successes, with the overall GPA increasing annually since 2013. Creech has also hired longtime UMaine football coach Jack Cosgrove and former softball coach Lynn Coutts as senior associate directors of athletics, while promoting Joe Harasymiak to the head coach position for football and Mike Coutts to head coach for softball.
An endowment to support Men’s Ice Hockey has also been established under Creech. UMaine has seen a 20 percent increase in annual giving to the athletics department, including more than $1.5M raised for the hockey endowment.
“Karlton’s outstanding leadership of UMaine athletics has benefitted the university, the state and Black Bear fans near and far,” UMaine President Susan Hunter said in a statement. “He is a thought [sic] leader, teacher and mentor with a vision for Maine’s only Division I athletic program. He came to UMaine with a strong record of athletics leadership, management and fundraising, and has effectively used those talents in the last three years to advance UMaine Athletics. This academic year, Karlton launched a new strategic vision for UMaine Athletics. We look forward to this next chapter in the history of Black Bear Nation.”
The strategic plan includes five known areas of focus for Maine — Maine’s team, academic achievement, innovative leadership, new resources and expectation of excellence.
Creech, a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University. He attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia to obtain his master’s degree in management and leadership. He and his wife, Staci, live in Bangor.