Craig Keilitz Named New ABCA Director 0

Craig Keilitz 2013 ABCAMT. PLEASANT, Mich. — Craig Keilitz has been named the new Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association after a lengthy national search.

Currently the Vice President for Athletics at High Point University, he will be the fifth full-time executive director for the ABCA, an organization now in its 70th year of existence.

Dave Keilitz, Craig’s Hall of Fame father, announced that he will step down as Executive Director of the ABCA in June. He has served with distinction in that capacity for the last 20 years.

Craig will take over on July 1.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with our selection,” said Mark Johnson, chairman of the ABCA Selection Committee.

“We had some outstanding people apply for the job, and the committee feels that Craig is the perfect person to lead us. We started the process last June at the College World Series in Omaha.

“Applications for the job were open for 90 days, and our committee had a tough decision to make. Craig brings some impressive qualities to the job.”

Craig said he is thrilled to be the new executive director of the ABCA.

 “I am honored and humbled to be chosen by the selection committee,” said Keilitz. “I am going into a great situation with a great staff. I can’t wait to get started July 1.”

Ron Wellman, athletics’ director at Wake Forest, and Keilitz’s boss for a number of years, felt the ABCA hit a home run with their selection.

“Craig is an exceptional person and a rising star in college administration,” said Wellman.

“He is so upbeat and positive about everything and has a tremendous work ethic. Craig’s connections in amateur baseball and professional baseball are impressive. He will be an outstanding leader for the ABCA.

“When he was at Wake Forest, he was instrumental in every success we had. He was a leader who was respected and trusted by all of our staff members.”

Dave Keilitz, the ABCA’s outgoing executive director, said: “Craig has all the skills and experiences to take over the ABCA Executive Director position. We will continue to have a great organization to the highest degree without missing a beat.”

Under Craig’s guidance, High Point has upgraded facilities, added two sports, upgraded staff positions in all areas and increased resources to be competitive with the top schools in the Big South. 

Under Keilitz’ leadership, High Point Athletics has undergone a complete evaluation of all aspects of the department and its various programs with goals of operational efficiency, extraordinary service and championship performance.

In the past five years, High Point has won nine conference championships in the regular season or tournament. The Panthers finished third in the Big South Sasser Cup all-sports standings each year under Keilitz’s watch. Prior to that, HPU had never finished higher than fourth.

An energetic and enthusiastic leader, Keilitz’s first major project was a $2 million renovation of the interior of the Millis Athletic Center. The project included a new playing floor, all new chair-back seats throughout the arena, a fourth video board, a new center-hung scoreboard and state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems.

Upgrades have continued with a new volleyball locker room in 2009, a new men’s and women’s basketball office suite in 2010 and new men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms in 2012.

Craig’s fundraising skills are the envy of many in collegiate athletics. He increased Panther Club income from $180,000 in 2007-08 to $1.9 million in 2012-13.

Facility improvements funded through the Panther Club include:

  • $10 million Athletic Performance Center currently under construction.
  • Improvements to Williard Baseball Stadium, including new outdoor batting cages and bullpen, new multimedia video board with sound system, video webstreaming with three cameras for every game.

When he was at Wake Forest from 1996-2008, he had direct supervision of marketing and promotions, media relations, ticketing, operations and event management and facilities. He ultimately became Associate Athletics Director.

Craig was a member of the executive team that managed the $48 million Deacon Tower football facility construction project that included a new press box, luxury suites, club seating and a restaurant.

Wake Forest set football attendance records five times in seven seasons of oversight by him.

Keilitz has been active at the conference and national levels. He was named to the NCAA Div. I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet in 2012 and is on six different Big South committees, including chair of the men’s soccer committee.

Keilitz started his career in college athletics at the University of Michigan in 1993 and was promoted to Director of Compliance in 1995.

A native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Keilitz earned his bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in marketing from Central Michigan University in 1991.

He was a member of the Chippewas’ baseball team as an outfielder. Keilitz received his master’s in sports administration from Ohio University in 1992.

He resides in High Point, N.C. with his wife Jane, who works as a physician’s assistant at Johnson Neurological Clinic.