Avila Now

June 5, 2019

Shawn Summe named Director of Athletics for Avila University


KANSAS CITY, MO – Avila University today appointed Shawn Summe as director of athletics. In the role, he will oversee the university’s 16 intercollegiate athletic teams and work closely with the advancement team to broaden Avila’s connection to the Kansas City community.

Summe brings more than 15 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics administration to the position, including eight years in a director role overseeing the growth and transformation of departments at small colleges. He has a strong background in the NAIA, having served in both a head coach and administrative role at several institutions, as well as holding national leadership positions.

“We’re excited to welcome Shawn as Avila’s new director of athletics,” said Avila President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA. “His experience in building successful athletic programs that embrace a culture of engagement with the campus and surrounding community along with his commitment to the mission of Avila University make him the best choice lead our athletic department into a new era.”

A successful baseball coach and committed higher education leader, Summe is an impressive addition to the Avila community. After serving as head baseball coach for three years at Ave Maria University in Florida, he also took on the role of athletic director. He oversaw fundraising efforts that raised more than $360,000 for campus facility improvements and the construction of new tennis courts.

Previously, he served as head baseball coach and admissions counselor at Judson College in Illinois, where he sparked a turnaround leading to the first NAIA All-American for the school, along with a program record for wins and a conference title game appearance.

“I am truly excited to join the Avila Athletics family,” Summe said. “Throughout my career I have found the best way to build and sustain a successful department is to build lasting relationships with student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff, and I am looking forward to building those relationships at Avila. The University’s identity as a Catholic institution is extremely important to me and I am excited to have my wife and children be an integral part of where I work.”

Immediately prior to joining Avila, Summe served as the athletic director at Stratford University, in Newport News, Va., where he was responsible for a newly-formed intercollegiate athletic program. His responsibilities there included the creation of a student-athlete handbook, development of both a capital campaign for new facilities and an ongoing fundraising philosophy, as well as hiring a coaching staff and developing a training plan to ensure compliance with Title IX, organizational and association eligibility rules.

Summe will begin his duties on July 1.


Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts and professional studies, preparing lifelong learners who make meaningful contributions to the global community.                                                               


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