Mary Kay Hungate
By Malcolm Butler
Hayes is first LA Tech athlete - male or female - to win Kearney Award
Tech to enter league on July 1, 2013
Not only does Hungate serve as the sports administrator for softball, women's volleyball, men's and women's track and field, and women's bowling, but she is also in charge of NCAA compliance for all of the university's 16 NCAA sanctioned programs.
As one of the top two ranking administrators in the Tech Athletics Department, Hungate is part of a senior staff that was instrumental in helping the University earn an invitation to join Conference USA starting July 1, 2013.
Hungate serves a vital role in the hiring of head coaches. She served as the point person in the hiring process of head women's soccer coach Kevin Sherry. Sherry led the Lady Techster soccer team to four straight winning seasons (the first ones in program history), the program's first appearance in the WAC Tournament in 2010 and the program’s first postseason win in the 2014 Conference USA Tournament. She has also been involved in the hiring of a number of other highly successful coaches, including current Lady Techster basketball coach Tyler Summitt, son of legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
Another of Hungate's responsibilities includes overseeing the academic side of the Tech athletics department, another area which has improved drastically as proven by the fact LA Tech's graduation rate continues to be one of the highest in the state (Federal Graduation Report).
Louisiana Tech's student-athletes continue to reach academic progress superlatives. For the seventh straight year the University recorded all-time highs in the most recent Federal Graduation Rate Report released by the NCAA last October. Tech's student-athletes recorded a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 81 percent and a Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) of 60 percent, which both were improvements over last year's numbers.
Louisiana Tech's 81 percent graduation success rate ranks as the second highest in the state among Division I football-playing public institutions. LA Tech's graduation success rate is one percentage points higher than last year's (80) and easily outdistances the state average of 69 percent among the other nine Division I football-playing public institutions in the state of Louisiana.
Tech also recorded the second highest federal graduation rate of any Division I football-playing public institution in the state at 60 percent, which also bests last year's mark of 59 percent.
The success of Louisiana Tech's student-athletes in the classroom was across the board as 14 of the 16 Division I sanctioned athletic programs recorded at least a 70 percent GSR led by men's golf, women's basketball and women's tennis with 100 percent scores. The Lady Techster basketball team's GSR ranked first in the state (tied with Tulane and Centenary) and first in C-USA (tied with Rice and Middle Tennessee).
One of the most impressive numbers in comparison to program's across the country was posted by the Bulldog football team which recorded a 77 percent GSR, which ranks first in the state of Louisiana among public institutions and fourth among all Conference USA programs (behind only Rice, UTSA and Middle Tennessee).
Hungate also plays an important role in LA Tech's NCAA Certification process. As a member of the Steering Committee and the liaison between the athletic department and the University's Self Study Committees, she provides the information needed for the committees to write their reports.
In addition, Hungate and the current senior staff have also garnered a number of national awards, including the 2010 Turnkey PRISM Award - which recognizes colleges for managerial excellence across four areas: marketing/branding; fan development; community relations; and customer/client service.
The Tech athletics department also finished in the Top 10 three times in the Excellence in Management Cup, which recognizes the most efficient athletic departments in the nation.
Hungate joined the Louisiana Tech staff in 1985 as an assistant women's basketball coach and remained in that role for five years. During that time, the Lady Techsters participated in four Final Fours and won the NCAA National Championship in 1988.
In 1990, Hungate made a move out of coaching and became assistant athletics director for academics and compliance as well as senior woman administrator. One of Hungate's early accomplishments as assistant director of athletics was the creation of the Louisiana Tech Athletic Academic Center program.
Hungate has served terms on the NCAA Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet, the NCAA Division I Interpretations/Legislative Review Subcommittee, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators Wade Trophy Selection Committee and as an NCAA Peer Reviewer. She has also served on the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Issues Committee since 2004.
She served on the Western Athletic Conference Council, the Conferences' Legislative Review Committee, the Finance Committee and the Code Book Committee. In addition, along with Athletics Director Tommy McClelland, she represents the athletics department as an ex-officio member of the LA Tech Athletics Council.
Hungate's professional career began as Women's Sports Coordinator and head volleyball, head basketball and head softball coach at Illinois' Carl Sandburg Junior College. She spent four seasons at the college where she guided the basketball team to a mark of 80-22 which included an 11th place finish in the 1976 NJCAA national tournament.
In 1978 Hungate took over the head coaching position at Richwoods High School in Peoria, Ill., and quickly compiled one of the top prep coaching records in the nation.
During her seven seasons at Richwoods High School, Hungate's team ran up an impressive record of 195-13, including a state-record 63 consecutive victories. Hungate was named the National Coach of the Year by USA Today in 1985. Before coming to Louisiana Tech, Hungate amassed a career coaching record of 275-35.