Olivet Hires New Director of Athletics

Former football coach Mike Conway ’83 returns to ONU as new AD.

April 16, 2020 Athletics

Olivet Nazarene University is pleased to announce that Mike Conway ’83 has been selected to serve as the University’s director of athletics, effective June 1. Mike will be taking over from Gary Newsome ’74, who has led Olivet athletics for the past 12 years as the director, following his nine seasons as head football coach.


Of transitioning into this new role Mike said, “I have tremendous respect for Coach Newsome, having played baseball and football for him at ONU in the 1980s, and now to continue his work is an honor. I am humbled and challenged to continue in a leadership role in the great tradition of athletics at Olivet. Those leaders who have preceded me in this position – Gary Newsome, Jeff Schimmelpfennig, Larry Watson, and CW “Butch” Ward – I proudly call my mentors and friends.”

As a student at Olivet, Mike studied sociology and communications. In 1994 he completed an M.A. in health education from Pennsylvania State University. Mike is thrilled to come back to his alma mater where he served as the head football coach for four years (1996-2000).

“My love for Olivet spans over four decades as a student, coach and alumnus. It is my desire to provide measurable impact and support to the University and its athletic programs while building into the legacy of ONU. Athletics is highly visible in the representation of any university. It is important that a team-approach runs throughout all departments on campus and displays collaboration, support and inclusion. As a representative of Jesus Christ and the Nazarene Church, our commitment will continue to be to honor Him both on and off the field/court.”

Just prior to his most recent coaching assignment at Taylor University (Indiana), Mike served as the head football coach at North Park College in Chicago for six years. Over his 35-year career, Mike has earned many credits including a winning record (253-122-2). His record from his four years as a head coach at Olivet was equally impressive (31-14). In 1997, he led Olivet’s football team to the inaugural Victory Bowl, which they won. In 1998 the team was a NAIA National Championship Finalist and Mike was named NCCAA Coach of the Year.

Regarding his interest in returning to Olivet to continue his career in college athletics, Mike said: “My purpose in life has been and continues to be following the will and calling of Jesus Christ. I feel strongly that God is leading me back to Olivet where I started my journey many years ago. My experience away from ONU has strengthened me greatly. I have a story to tell and many experiences to share with students, coaches, alumni, churches and families that will impact them and their future. It starts with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I feel that it can continue where my foundation was established at ONU.”

Mike is excited to lead Olivet’s Athletic Department and to partner with an outstanding and committed coaching staff to maintain and grow towards the “next level” of athletic success.

“Athletics at ONU is integral in the student-athlete development and is the platform that God uses to builds into the foundational core in preparation for the rest of their personal, spiritual and professional lives.”

He continued, “My charge as a coach and administrator is to empower coaches and staff to guide student-athletes to maximize their full potential. I am passionate about ministry and athletics and remain committed to teaching the concepts of character building and leadership development through sports. I believe we are called by God as Christians to be His representatives in our personal and professional lives (Colossians 3:17). This has provided my motivation and has challenged me as a Christian leader, administrator, and coach to work hard, represent Him, and always play to win!”

Mike is married to Beth Ann (Moore) Conway, a 1986 Olivet graduate. They have two adult sons and daughters-in-law, Dakota and Rachel Conway and Tyler and Emma Conway.

For more information about ONU athletics, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463. For ONU Athletic news, visit www.onutigers.com.

Published 4/16/2020

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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