Former UA Little Rock athletic director Chris Peterson was named as the new vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander announced Peterson’s appointment on Wednesday (Jan. 22). He will officially begin at UAPB Jan. 23.
Peterson served as athletics director at UA Little Rock for 14 years, but resigned in 2014 after his inappropriate comments about the mother of a women’s soccer player were captured on audio.
“After a national search, I am appointing Chris Peterson as UAPB Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director,” Alexander said. “Mr. Peterson is no stranger to UAPB. During his time there (UA Little Rock), he was known for his commitment to academic integrity and compliance, student-athlete welfare, and for his leadership in fundraising, planning and construction of athletic facilities.”
Peterson presided over one of the most successful seasons in UA Little Rock’s history in 2010-11 as it was one of just 12 Division I institutions out of 347 to have its men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball programs reach the NCAA Tournament. All three teams captured Sun Belt Conference Tournament championships for the first time in each program’s respective history, in addition to the men’s cross country team’s Sun Belt championship the following school year.
“I’m the son of a college football coach and athletic director,” Peterson said. “I have grown up on a field, court and in the locker room. I was a college athlete, football coach and have worked my way up in the ranks of athletic administration over the past 40 years. My goal as your director of athletics is to do everything in my power to enhance the experience of the student athlete, with the ultimate goal being a college degree and employment. I want to uphold the rich tradition of Arkansas AM&N and UAPB while continuing to move the athletic department forward.”
It was Peterson’s relationship with the late Little Rock philanthropist Jack Stephens that led to the $22.4 million gift — the largest in UA Little Rock’s history — for the construction of the basketball and all-purpose center named in his honor.