Tom Kirinovic Receives Peterson Pride Award

Tom Kirinovic Receives Peterson Pride Award

Big Rapids, Mich. - Outgoing Ferris State University Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic has been chosen as the recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's annual "Pete Peterson Pride Award" for the 2009-10 athletics season.

Kirinovic, who last week announced his plans to retire effective June 30, has been a loyal supporter of Ferris State University and Bulldogs Athletics for over 27 years. He's the 22nd individual to receive the "Pete Peterson Pride Award" since its inception following the conclusion of the 1981-82 athletics season and only the second former Athletics Director to claim the recognition.

The Pete Peterson Pride Award is named in honor of former Ferris State Athletics Director and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Commissioner Pete Peterson (1964-79). The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated loyalty and unselfish support of Bulldog Athletics. The award, which was reinstated following the 2002-03 athletics season after a seven-year absence, recognizes outstanding service and support from those outside the athletics department staff. Coaches and athletics department staff nominate individuals to be considered which are selected from alumni, community members, university faculty or staff member, and a fan. A committee from the administration staff of intercollegiate athletics determines the award recipient.

Kirinovic, who has gained recognition for his skills in areas of athletics management, public relations, marketing, and fundraising, has served as a member of the athletics department staff for more than 27 years and been the school’s Athletics Director since November 29, 1999.  He was appointed interim athletics director in mid-July 1999 before becoming a unanimous choice for the position.

In his 11-year tenure as athletics director, Kirinovic has been responsible for overseeing the Bulldogs' 15-sport intercollegiate athletics program. Under his leadership, more than 800 student-athletes have received academic all-conference honors and more than 375 student-athletes have been tabbed as all-conference performers.  The Bulldogs have also won 13 conference championships and more than 85 student-athletes have attained All-America recognition.

Additionally, in the Kirinovic era, FSU has completed or renovated athletic facilities for basketball, football, softball, track, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis and golf under his watch along with developing the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame.  Ferris has placed four times among the nation’s top 35 programs in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Division II All-Sports Standings over the past six years, including the school’s highest finish ever at 21st in 2004-05.  In the last three years, two different FSU student-athletes have also been chosen as the nation’s top overall student-athlete in any sport at the Division II level with both coming from the Bulldog football program.

In his time as AD, 14 of FSU’s 15 teams have qualified for NCAA National Tournament competition and five have posted their highest-ever national finishes at the Division II level.  The Bulldogs have finished in the upper half of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President’s Trophy All-Sports Standings all 11 years under Kirinovic, including two runner-up efforts and six top three showings. He’s also been responsible for hiring five of Ferris’ current head coaches who presently direct 10 of FSU’s 15 varsity programs. 

“Tom has done an outstanding job of leading Ferris State Athletics into an era of excellence and growth over the many years he as served the University,” said hockey head coach Bob Daniels. “He has been a mentor and friend to the coaches who have had the pleasure to serve under him.  Of the many attributes he has brought to the department, the ones that stand out above all others are his loyalty to the student athletes and his devotion to making their experience a positive and productive one.”

Prior to becoming athletics director, Kirinovic was formerly the department’s associate athletics director since August 1994.  He was originally appointed interim athletics director on April 8, 1993, following the retirement of then athletics director Dean Davenport. Kirinovic also served a two-year (1992-93) stint as assistant athletics director at FSU after holding the dual position of assistant athletics director and ice arena manager from 1987-91. In 1991, he was appointed as fundraising manager in the department. He initially began his FSU career in August 1982, returning to his alma mater as athletic business manager. Along with his administrative work, Kirinovic coached the 1989 Ferris State softball team to a 17-15 overall record and its first winning season in six years. He also logged five years of coaching experience at Ovid-Elsie High School in Elsie, Mich., as a varsity assistant for both football and basketball while also serving as head coach of the school's freshmen and junior varsity baseball program.

Kirinovic has been active in conference, regional and national committees during his tenure at Ferris State. Most recently, he has served on the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association (DII ADA) Board of Directors along with the NCAA Division II National Football Committee.  He’s also been a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Basketball Ranking Committee. Kirinovic also served as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President for the 2005-06 athletics season.

In addition to being a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Kirinovic has also held membership in the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administration (NACMA). Locally, the Big Rapids (Mich.) Lions Club member is a past chair of the Mecosta-Osceola United Way Drive and a past president of the Big Rapids Public Schools' Board of Education.

Kirinovic, 55, received a bachelor's degree in business education from Ferris in 1977 and a master's in education administration from Central Michigan University in 1982.  He and his wife, Marge, are the parents of two sons, Blake (28) and Matt (25), both of whom have been involved working in the athletics field. Marge is a teacher at Riverview Elementary in Big Rapids.

The other nominees for the 2009-10 Pete Peterson Bulldog Pride Award were Dr. Phil Walling and Matthew Pinter.

Pete Peterson Bulldog Pride Award Recipients:
2009-10 - Tom Kirinovic (Athletics Director, Associate AD, Assistant AD, Ice Arena Manager, Athletics Business Manager)
- Bob Horan III (Local Businessman, Financial Supporter, Fan, Gridron Club, Rebounders Club & Blueline Club Member)
2007-08 - Stanley Gustafson (Statistician, Hockey Season Ticket Holder, Fan)
2006-07 – Mike Wissink (Team Chaplain, Team Building Coordinator)
2005-06 – Paul Quick (Ticket Manager, Business Operations)
2004-05 – Sueann Walz (Local Businesswoman, Financial Supporter, Fan, Blueline Club Member)
2003-04 – Paul Davis (Ticket Manager)
2002-03 – Dick Hawkins (Dean, Blueline Club Member)
1995-96 – Rich Currie (Local Businessman, Bulldog Club Member, Bulldog Football’s “Number One Fan”)
1994-95 – Lyn Hanson (Bus Driver, Fan)
1993-94 – Judd Folske (Baseball Head Coach, Assistant to Athletics Director)
1992-93 – Dean Davenport (Athletics Director, Administrator, Coach)
1991-92 – Rachel Snyder (Associate Professor, National Anthem Singer, Athletic Advisory Committee Member & Chair)
1990-91 – Bill Scheible (Alumni Director, Bulldog Club Member, Athletics Business Manager, Assistant to Athletics Director, Ewigleben Ice Arena Manager)
1989-90 – Tom Cook (CCHA Institutional Representative, Dean of Gerholdz Institute for Lifelong Learning, Administrative Consultant)
1988-89 – Carma Burcham (Assistant Registrar For Athletic Eligibility, Bulldog Club, Blue Line Club, Fastbreak Club)
1987-88 – John Allshouse (Athletics Associates Board Member and President, Fund raising event organizer)
1986-87 – Bob Leach (Alumni Affairs Director, Assistant Vice President For Alumni and Development, Head Football Coach, Development Officer)
1985-86 – Tom Walsh (Dean, Official Timekeeper, Athletic Associates Member)
1984-85 – Bill Buckingham (Public Address Announcer, Associate Vice President For Student Services)
1982-83 – Tim Pendell (Sports Information Director)
1981-82 – Dr. Frederick Birkham (Health Center Director)