Randale Richmond comes home: introducing Kent State’s new director of athletics


Randale Richmond gave a virtual introduction to the Kent State community today after he was welcomed to Kent State by President Todd Diacon. The recording of the introduction can be found below.

Randale Richmond is set to start as Kent State’s new director of athletics on May 1. The university held a press conference today where Richmond spoke to the press and Kent community for the first time since his hiring on April 9.

The press conference began with President Todd Diacon and Vice President of Student Affairs Lamar Hylton, who headed the director of athletics search committee, welcoming and introducing Richmond, who comes to Kent from Old Dominion University.

“[Richmond] is the complete package,” Hylton said. “And I am thrilled that our search yielded his candidacy for this particular position at this time for Kent State.”

After Hylton turned the floor over to Richmond, he introduced himself as “just a kid from Akron, expressing some concern that perhaps LeBron James had trademarked that phrase.

Richmond played football and ran track at Baldwin-Wallace College. He said that “God’s favor, people who care and sports” were the three things that got him involved in higher education, and that he was thankful for all of them.

“It is within higher education that I fully developed and refined my why, my purpose, which is to be a transformational leader who has a positive impact on people’s lives,” Richmond said. “During my journey, my time as a student athlete, I was impacted by other transformational leaders who, in their words, saw something special in me and wanted to help cultivate those gifts. That’s what I want to do for others here at Kent State.”

During his introduction of Richmond, President Diacon talked about how his goals for the department of athletics were graduating athletes first, and winning championships second. He said Richmond responded “yes, absolutely, wholeheartedly.”

“At that point, I knew Randale was who we needed,” Diacon said.

Richmond emphasized that he agreed with the idea of preparing students for graduation and life after college coming before winning.

He explained how he would create an athletic department that achieved both those goals using his experience at ODU, as well as his previous 10 years of experience at Kent State.

“We do that by creating an athletic department that is in line with the university’s missions and goals; student athlete centered, coach led and administrator supported,” Richmond said. “A great student athlete experience which includes winning creates a progressive human being who becomes a thankful alumnus.”

Richmond said he would push for increased inclusivity and diversity in his department and throughout Kent State athletics.

“Diverse perspectives from empowered leaders is a competitive advantage and we must obtain it,” he said. 

Richmond closed his introduction by explaining why he chose to apply for the job at Kent State. He said that his values align with those of Diacon and the university as a whole. To Richmond, Kent State has a history of athletic and academic success and the northeast Ohio sports community is strong.

“It’s home,” Richmond said.

“[Kent State is] the place where we started our family, got married, bought our first home – not in that order Ja’s mother is watching,” he said.

Ja’Alycia is Randale’s wife with whom he has two sons, Rahman and Ramar, and a daughter, Jayla.

Old Dominion, where Richmond served as senior associate athletic director since 2015 following his first 10 year career at KSU, is in Conference USA for most of its varsity sports, and Richmond said he was excited to be moving back to the Mid-American Conference.

“[In the MAC] we have a like-minded area in terms of budget and opportunity to win,” Richmond said. “If you look at all the different championships across the board within the MAC you have a chance for victory and that’s what’s so exciting at Kent State.”

To close the presentation Eric Mansfield, assistant vice president of university communications and marketing, asked Richmond how he would measure his success a year after he starts on May 1.

“I’ll measure success by the relationships that we build across campus,” Richmond said. “And it is also going to be in the alignment. Are we aligned with the purpose of moving the mission of the university forward.”

Richmond formally takes over as director of athletics in just over two weeks, and a recording of today’s presentation can be found at this boxcast link.

Owen is sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].