News

Valerie Cleary given five-year contract extension
Author: Mike Lund
Posted: December 19, 2019
Portland State University Interim President Stephen Percy has announced he is extending the contract of Director of Athletics Valerie Cleary.
 
 “During her time at PSU, Valerie Cleary has demonstrated that success in athletics venues can be matched with strong student learning success, which is in line with PSU's mission,” Percy said. “I look forward to working with her to sustain past achievements and plan for an even more successful future.”
 
Cleary joined Portland State as Director of Athletics in January 2017 and is completing her third year. Her new contract with the University is for five years, running through Dec. 31, 2024.
 
“Thank you to President Percy and the Portland State University community for their continued support of my efforts as the Director of Athletics,” Cleary said. “I am beyond proud of what our student-athletes, coaches, and staff have accomplished in my first three years. As we enter into 2020, we will focus on providing an exceptional student-athlete experience, while serving as ambassadors for the mission and values of Portland State University. It is truly an honor to be part of the Viking family, and I am excited for what lies ahead.” 
 
Cleary had a working knowledge of the Viking program and most of its staff upon her arrival from her previous stint on the Park Blocks. She had served as Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at PSU between 2013 and 2015. She served as interim AD in late 2014, giving Bruce Barnum his initial one-year contract to be Head Football Coach and established other personnel changes.
 
Cleary moved to Willamette University in 2015 and spent two years as Director of Athletics for that program.
 
When Cleary returned to Portland State in 2017, she stepped into the development and completion process of the Viking Pavilion, the academic and athletic center that now houses the department and hosts basketball and volleyball in a 3,000-seat arena. The Viking Pavilion, which opened in 2018, also features upgraded amenities, and improved weight room, training room and academic advising facilities.
 
During her first three years as PSU AD, Cleary has hired new coaches in men’s basketball (Barret Peery), track and field (David Hepburn), women’s soccer (Katie Burton), men’s tennis (Vetu Mam) and women’s tennis (Kyle Russell). More recently, PSU’s women’s basketball program won the 2019 Big Sky Conference Championship, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, PSU student-athletes have maintained a grade point average over 3.1 and produced a higher graduation rate than the university as a whole.
 
Cleary and President Percy have established goals for Viking Athletics in the coming years. Some of the top priorities include:
• Developing a plan to enhance Hillsboro Stadium (video board, premium seating) to support the needs of the football team and fans while continuing to explore downtown options.
• Advancing an academic environment where NCAA Graduation Rate and Academic Progress Rates of student-athletes meet the Academic Based Revenue Standards. 
• Supporting the holistic health and well-being of student-athletes by expanding program offerings in psychological services, nutrition, and substance education.
• Working closely with the recently-hired Associate Athletics Director of Development in the PSU Foundation to generate philanthropic funds to support the overall athletic program at PSU. 
• In partnership with University Communications, market and promote the athletic program to internal and external audiences, demonstrating the value and impact of athletics lives on student success and careers.
• Work with the Vice President for Administration and Finance to create a multi-year budget plan for Athletics that includes anticipated contributions from philanthropic sources.