The Valparaiso University Department of Athletics has announced the addition of Elliott Charles, who will serve as Executive Associate Athletic Director.
Charles will oversee all aspects of Valpo’s external operations and lead the department’s development, donor cultivation and revenue generation efforts. He brings with him a wide range of experiences in intercollegiate athletics, including time as a Division-I Director of Athletics at Chicago State University from December 2019 to April 2022.
“I am excited to welcome Elliott Charles to the Valpo Athletics family,” Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Small said. “He will help the Valpo Department of Athletics rise to new heights. He is an innovative thinker and will help provide creative solutions to meet the complex demands of collegiate athletics. Elliott is a proven leader who will help us continue to earn trust from our external supporters and stakeholders.”
Charles, who has completed consulting work in the Name, Image, Likeness space in recent months, has over 16 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics. Prior to his time at Chicago State, he spent two and a half years as an athletics administrator at Clemson University.
Before arriving at Clemson, Charles served as Deputy Director of Athletics at Florida A&M University. He also worked in athletics administration at the University of South Florida, the University of Alabama, Northern Illinois University, Illinois State University and the Mid-American Conference.
“I am honored to join Director of Athletics Charles Small and Valparaiso University during this time of monumental and historic change in intercollegiate athletics,” Charles said. “Valpo is well-positioned to continue to gain the momentum necessary to recruit and graduate the brightest and most competitive student-athletes across all our sports programs. My family and I are excited to contribute toward the growth of championship culture and embrace the Beacon values, community and tradition.”
A 2013 graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, Charles holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in sports management from Illinois State University after earning his bachelor’s in business management from the University of South Florida. He also completed a certificate from USF Muma College of Business for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Charles is a strong geographic fit for this position as he has deep roots in the Chicagoland area. He moved to Chicagoland in 2005, has worked at three Division-I schools in the Chicagoland area and worked for the Chicago Cubs during the 2008 season. His brother Maurice Charles was a men’s soccer student-athlete at UIC and is currently an evangelist ministry leader for the Chicago Church of Christ, while his brother Malcolm Charles is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and works as an analyst for the Buffalo Bills of the NFL. Charles’ wife Stormie is from Calumet City, Ill. and competed in track & field at Thornwood High School (Ill.) and Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.
Charles has three children – daughters Lillian (11) and Ellington (1) and son Langston (7).
During his time at Chicago State, Charles made the difficult decision to not allow the Cougars men’s basketball team to compete against Seattle University in a game scheduled for March 5, 2020 in Seattle as the Pacific Northwest was considered the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States at that time. While initially criticized, the decision was eventually a trendsetter, as the NCAA and all professional sports leagues delayed or outright canceled the remainder of their seasons a week later.
Under Charles’ guidance, Chicago State created the Cougar Pride Fund and entered into partnerships with Nike/BSN, BandwagonFanClub, Weiss Hospital and Teamworks/INFLCR. He also brought men’s soccer back to campus after a 30-year hiatus and enhanced student-athlete development programming.
Charles oversaw enhancements to Chicago State’s facilities including the installation of the Jones Convocation Center basketball court, the creation of an athletics equipment room, renovation of the weight room and renovation and redesign of the Jacoby Dickens Center basketball court. SeatGeek Stadium was established as the home for the Chicago State men’s and women’s soccer teams during his tenure as well