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Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics Announces Restructuring of External Department

Lenoir-Rhyne Vice President of Athletics Kim Pate has announced the restructure of external department. Justin Hay will be promoted to the role of Deputy Athletic Director for External Relations while Jake Berry will see his title shift to Associate Athletic Director for External Operations. As Deputy AD for External Relations, Hay will continue to oversee the Bears Club annual fund and focus on strategic priorities such as fundraising for facilities, scholarships, and overall department needs. Berry, who currently oversees the Bears corporate partnership program and external revenue will take over the day-to-day external operations previously headed up by Hay.

The changes will be effective immediately.

“I am excited for the restructure and for Justin and Jake to step into these new roles,” said Pate. “We are blessed to have one of the most dedicated, talented, servant minded, and collaborate administrative teams in the collegiate athletics industry with the number one goal to enhance our Bears’ student-athlete-experience. It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside Justin and Jake and to be a part of their professional growth and journey. They have been a huge part of our success and have made a big impact. Both Justin and Jake are always looking for ways to grow and are rising stars in the collegiate athletic administrative ranks.”

Hay, who most recently served as Senior Associate Athletic Director, has overseen unparalleled growth since he took over running the Bears Club in the fall of 2022-2023 saw a record-breaking campaign for the department bringing in over $2.5 million in external annual revenue, thanks in large part to the record $1,229,052 in Bears Club revenue. Annual sponsorship revenue also set a new record for the department at $981,000. Another record fell when the Bear Memorial Golf outing along with the silent auction brought in $141,000 on Homecoming weekend. Hay also oversaw the first BeaRaPalooza which raised over $185k in its first year in support of the LR student-athlete experience along with scholarships. In addition to these duties, Justin has provided leadership and support to the overall external operations including marketing, external partnerships, athletic communications, and facilities. Hay has served as a key member of the athletics senior leadership team that helps set the strategic direction of the overall athletic department while also providing administrative support to coaches and various staffing roles. In his fifth year at LR, Hay has now been promoted three times since coming to Lenoir-Rhyne in June of 2019.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Kim Pate for the awesome opportunity to continue helping shape the future of LR Athletics,” Hay said. “My family and I are blessed to be a part of the Hickory Community and we are incredibly thankful to be a part of the Bear family. I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with the dedicated and generous Bear alumni, supporters and friends and I look forward to continuing to enhance the student-athlete experience at Lenoir-Rhyne while pursing our mission of “Developing Champions for life.”

Berry is in his second year at Lenoir-Rhyne after coming to Hickory from Appalachian State where he served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations. Berry has served as the Associate AD for Revenue Generation over the past year and will see his role expanded to Associate AD for External Operations. In this expanded position, Berry will be tasked with ensuring elite experiences for LR student-athletes and supporters through oversight of marketing and fan experience, facilities, game day operations while continuing to head up revenue generation. During Berry’s first year as Associate AD for Revenue Generation, LR Athletics exceeded revenue goals in the areas of corporate partnerships, ticket sales, and facility rentals while also rolling out various new revenue streams. Prior to his time at Appalachian State, Berry spent six years at the University of West Georgia where he served as Associate Director of Athletic Events and Facility Management.

“I couldn’t be more excited and humbled to continue to serve LR Athletics in this new capacity,” said Berry. “I would like to thank Kim Pate and Justin Hay for their leadership and putting their trust in me to elevate the experience for everyone affiliated with LR. My family and I consider ourselves extremely blessed to be a part of the LR family and call Hickory home. Go Bears!”