Kemp named Interim Athletic Director

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

Mike Kemp spent 12 years behind the bench and has 25 years of experience at UNO. Now he’ll take over as Interim Athletic Director. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

He’s a Maverick through and through, and it seems like he’s filled just about every shoe during his 25-year tenure at UNO, but Mike Kemp now has one more title to add to that list—interim Athletic Director.

”It is a great honor for me to be entrusted with the responsibility to lead this department,” Kemp said through a recent press release.“I have spent my career here at UNO dedicated to creating opportunities for student-athletes, first as a coach, then as a sport administrator, and I feel blessed that my journey has led me here.

“In this new position, student-athletes will be the center of my efforts. With the help of the campus community, and the continued support of Omaha at large, we will be able to continue the tremendous growth that Omaha Athletics has experienced over the past 12 years. I look forward to the challenge.”

Although it’s still unknown how long the interim tag will last, Kemp said he’s ready to hold the position as long as needed.

As the man who was hired as the school’s first hockey coach in 1996, Kemp was behind the bench until the end of the 2008-09 season. From there, he transitioned into his role as the school’s associate athletic director, where he worked from 2009-2019, before becoming senior associate athletic director. Before being named interim AD, he had still been serving in that position.

Throughout that entire administrative stretch, there’s been one person he has consistently worked alongside—Trev Alberts. The man Kemp will take over for.

“This is a bittersweet time for me,” Kemp said. “Trev Alberts has been a trusted friend and a great colleague for over 12 years. Together, we have gone through many challenging and thrilling experiences. He has left an indelible mark on Omaha athletics that will ink his legacy in our athletic lore.”

Alberts, who took over as the Athletic Director at Nebraska, has said numerous times there are few as respected and well-liked as Kemp. There’s very little doubt about him taking over.

“Mike Kemp has been a trusted colleague from the day I set foot on UNO’s campus,” Alberts said. “He is a valued leader both in athletic competition and in administration, and is a beloved member of the Omaha community. Omaha Athletics is in good hands.”

Kemp was inducted into the Omaha Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. He compiled a 194-223-57 record over 12 seasons as a head coach and led the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. He also coached five All-Americans, had 12 All-CCHA players during that span and was named the CCHA Coach of the Year in 2005.

As an administrator, the honors have been there too. Kemp serves as the chair of the six-member NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and has helped guide that group through a tough 2020-21 season because of the pandemic.

He was also the recipient of the NCHC’s first-ever Commissioner’s Award this past April for his efforts and services to the conference. Kemp was a vital part of the NCHC Pod that Omaha hosted last December.

During a time of change where stability is a necessity, Kemp’s character will be key. Those around him are excited and hoping to see him succeed in another role.

“I am thankful that Mike Kemp has graciously agreed to serve as interim Athletic Director,” Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA said. “I have the utmost confidence in his abilities, experience, knowledge, and character to effectively lead this department.”

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