National Athletics Director of the Year Dr. Darin S. Wilson established the Office of Athletics at Georgia Gwinnett College in late 2011 with the vision of being one of the nation's premier programs. Off to an incredibly quick start, the Grizzlies are in the process of becoming just that.
The Grizzlies seek to develop lifelong leaders of character through academic and athletic excellence, inspired by Wilson's devotion to the student-athlete experience. He has instilled the program's five core values of Service, Responsibility, Leadership, Sportsmanship and the Pursuit of Excellence.
Committed to the idea of continuing professional development, Wilson holds a number of influential positions within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and helps shape policy at the organization's highest levels.
He currently serves on the NAIA's National Administrative Council, as well as on the NAIA's Athletic Directors Association Executive Committee. Additionally, he is on the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.), of which GGC is a member.
Wilson's drive to provide an unparalleled student-athlete experience committed to character-driven intercollegiate athletics has resulted in tremendous early success for the Grizzlies, who currently field teams in baseball, softball, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's tennis and women's tennis.
In under five seasons, the Grizzlies have already captured seven NAIA national championships, 10 A.I.I. championships, and an NAIA Champions of Character team award. In addition, dozens of student-athletes have earned All-American status, Scholar-Athlete recognition, and President’s List distinction.
During the program's very first season of postseason eligibility in 2013-14, four of the Grizzlies' six teams competed in the NAIA national tournament, each reaching a national top-10 ranking. Eighteen players secured All-American status over the course of the year and the men's and women's tennis teams delivered GGC's first-ever national titles on May 17, 2014, in Mobile, Ala.
Through five seasons on the field, the Grizzlies have far exceeded expectations with a 712-231-18 (.750) overall record across all sports through spring 2016, earning of conference championships three conference championships in men’s soccer and baseball and a pair of championships by men’s tennis and softball. The Grizzlies have now collected seven national titles (4-men’s tennis, 3-women’s tennis) and eight conference championships. In total, GGC has 67 NAIA All-Americans and one NAIA National Player of the Year.
The Grizzlies also have successfully bid for and hosted postseason championships in men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s tennis, softball, and baseball.
Student-athletes at Georgia Gwinnett College compete at the state-of-the-art Grizzly Athletics Complex, a $15 million facility which features baseball, softball, soccer and tennis complexes, plus a 25,000-square-foot Athletics building with staff offices, team locker rooms, a weight room, training areas, hospitality suites and academic resource space.
Wilson was instrumental in the concept, development and construction phases of the entire project, delivering the Grizzlies one of the nation’s elite athletic complexes.
Wilson chairs GGC’s intercollegiate athletics committee, and with Wilson’s leadership, Georgia Gwinnett College successfully completed application into the NAIA in April of 2012.
August 25, 2012, marked the historic Opening Day for Grizzly Athletics, with a pair of men’s and women’s soccer victories highlighting the occasion.
Wilson looks forward to the athletic program’s continued growth and progress at a rapid rate.
Wilson brought a wealth of experience to his position as GGC’s first Director of Athletics, coming from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky. He had served as the athletics director since 2003, following a five-year stint as baseball coach. His departure ended 18 years of involvement with Union, from an undergraduate student-athlete to leading the athletics program.
During Wilson’s time at Union, the college won 47 Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships, four Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference titles, and six NAIA Region XII championships. Union was awarded the AAC Duard Walker All-Sports Trophy for the first time in school history in 2010. Forty-seven players were named NAIA Scholar-Athletes, and four players were selected as CoSIDA Academic All-America Team members.
Wilson oversaw extensive renovation of Union’s sports facilities, including baseball and football locker room remodels, new scoreboards and press boxes, the installation of a $1 million synthetic turf multi-purpose field, and the expansion of athletic training facilities. The athletics overhaul made Union’s facilities some of the best in the NAIA.
Wilson also grew Union’s department of athletics from 15 intercollegiate programs to 23, while effectively revitalizing the athletic booster club and managing a multi-million dollar operational and scholarship budget.
For his accomplishments, Wilson was selected as the 2010-11 NAIA National Athletics Director of the Year in the spring of 2012.
He was recognized as the AAC Athletic Director of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2011, the NAIA Region XII Athletic Director of the Year in 2008, and the 2009-10 NAIA Under Armour AD of the Year for the Southeast Region by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). He won this award again in 2014-15 at GGC.
Wilson’s time as a coach and player at Union were marked by success as well. He posted a 161-106-1 baseball coaching record and was named the 2001 Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year, setting a school record with 41 wins. As an undergraduate, Wilson was selected as Male Athlete of the Year while playing for Union.
Wilson has a master’s in education from Union College and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He resides in Gwinnett County with his wife, Natalie, and has two children, Drew and Mara.