|Position:||Director of Athletics|
|Alma Mater:||Iowa State|
Saint Louis University Director of Athletics Chris May has guided Billiken athletics to consistent growth and a high level of success since taking the helm Jan. 30, 2008.
The mission of Saint Louis athletics under May's leadership is to deliver a program of academic and athletic excellence and engage the University community in sharing the success of Billiken student-athletes. His vision is to fully integrate SLU athletics into the Saint Louis University community through the realization of the department's strategic objectives of education, competition and building community.
In 2018, May was one of 32 designees selected for the NCAA Division I Council, a group of high-level administrators and student-athletes tasked with day-to-day decision making within NCAA Division I. He was tabbed for the Council by the Atlantic 10 Conference to represent the league's 14 institutions.
May's work has paid dividends for countless Billiken student-athletes and staff. In June 2014, he was named the NCAA-IAAA Under Armour AD of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
SLU is one of the A-10’s leading institutions on the education front. Billiken student-athletes continued their historic performance in the classroom is past season. Collectively, the more than 350 student-athletes achieved an incredible 3.38 GPA during the 2018-19 academic year.
Saint Louis University has a proud history of educating its student-athletes, and May has made it a priority to continue the emphasis on academic excellence. In 2019, a school-record 10 Billiken athletic programs earned public recognition by the NCAA for earning multi-year Academic Progress Rates in the top 10 percent of all squads in each sport.
Also in 2019, 107 Billiken student-athletes, spirit squad members and staff members took part in commencement ceremonies on the SLU campus.
Under May's direction and leadership, Saint Louis’ Department of Athletics is experiencing perhaps its most successful stretch in school history. From the hiring of additional staff to enhancing student-athlete services, May has positioned Billiken athletics to be successful on the national stage for years to come.
Saint Louis has appeared in 13 NCAA Tournaments during May's tenure:
- 2008 – Volleyball
- 2009 – Men's Soccer
- 2009 – Volleyball
- 2010 – Baseball
- 2012 – Men's Basketball
- 2012 – Men's Soccer
- 2013 – Men's Basketball
- 2013 – Baseball
- 2014 – Men's Basketball
- 2014 – Men's Soccer
- 2018 – Baseball
- 2018 – Women's Soccer
- 2019 – Men's Basketball
The Billiken men's basketball team had its greatest run in school history under May's guidance, advancing to a school-record three straight NCAA Tournaments from 2012-14. In March 2016, May orchestrated the hiring of Travis Ford to lead the men's basketball program, and the decision immediately paid dividends on the recruiting front. The Billikens returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 after winning four games in four days at the A-10 Championship.
The Billiken women's basketball team has enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years. Head coach Lisa Stone, hired by May in 2012, guided SLU to WNIT appearances in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a tie for the 2015-16 A-10 regular-season title.
May has implemented numerous enhancements that have improved the student-athlete experience. For example, SLU student-athletes have unlimited access to a Fueling Station within Chaifetz Arena, giving them healthy breakfast and snack options. Additionally, large investments have been made on equipment and staff in the Sports Performance and Sports Medicine departments, which benefit all 350-plus SLU student-athletes.
Also under May’s leadership, several Billiken programs have benefited from the construction or renovation of facilities. The track and field program was bolstered by a new facility on SLU’s medical campus; an indoor hitting facility for the baseball and softball teams was built at the Billiken Sports Center; and major locker room upgrades for men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s soccer were made at Chaifetz Arena and Hermann Stadium, respectively.
Equally as impressive as the academic and athletic accomplishments during May’s tenure is the department's strong commitment to community service that coincides with the University's mission. SLU student-athletes have stayed true to the Jesuit tradition of serving others, enthusiastically contributing thousands of service hours to numerous organizations and individuals.
May's efforts have been instrumental in the development of a local television package for men's basketball. At least 12 games a year are carried on FOX Sports Midwest in St. Louis. In addition, May spearheaded the negotiation of a radio rights agreement to carry Billiken men's basketball on 100,000-watt 101.1 WXOS-FM/ESPN Radio, dramatically increasing the Billikens' broadcast reach in the Greater St. Louis area.
Recognizing a need to share the department’s success with others, May has initiated the creation of numerous celebratory events that bring people to campus. These events include alumni gatherings for each sport, an annual luncheon recognizing student-athletes who earn straight As, and a Student-Athlete Toast for all graduating Billikens in May.
May hosts the “From the Stands” Billiken podcast. In addition to interviewing Billiken coaches, student-athletes and alumni, May has been joined by UConn Women’s Basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma, A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade and ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi on the popular podcast.
In addition to his current membership on the NCAA Division I Council, May serves on the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee. Previously, he served a four-year appointment on the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet as well as a stint on the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee.
May's membership on the A-10's Finance Committee, Television Committee and Championships Committee is part of a department-wide involvement, as several SLU staff members hold positions on key conference committees. He also was a member of the Athletics Directors Committee that participated in the process culminating in the hiring of A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade. In addition, May is active with the St. Louis Sports Commission and is a member of the Missouri Athletic Club.
May came to Saint Louis following more than 22 years of service at the University of Colorado, where he most recently was associate athletics director for external affairs. He was a leader in the “Your Team” campaign for Colorado athletics, which focused on ticket sales, fund raising and image building, and he played a major role in the $46.4 million expansion of CU's football stadium, Folsom Field. Also among May's numerous significant contributions were management of the annual Colorado-Colorado State “Rocky Mountain Showdown” football game in Denver; negotiations with corporate sponsors that culminated in an $18.1 million guaranteed contract with Learfield Sports; management of sport programs that won NCAA national championships; and participation in the management of 18 bowl appearances by the CU football team.
In addition, May was co-chair of the development and implementation of a 10-year strategic plan for CU athletics. Among his Big 12 Conference committee assignments was a stint on the league's ad hoc marketing committee, which he once chaired. He also held membership on the Metro Denver Sports Commission.
May received a bachelor of business administration degree from Iowa State University, where he was a track and field athlete, in 1985 and an MBA from the University of Colorado in 1988. He and his wife, Joanne, are the parents of Lucy, Jack and Sophia.