Realizing Potential: Student Success in Sports and Life

Photo of Mike Mominey. To NSU Athletics Director Mike Mominey, helping student-athletes realize their potential means providing opportunities for success—in sports and in life.

“In athletics, it’s almost the perfect analogy because that’s what we do,” Mominey said. “As a coach, you’re always looking to get the most of your student-athletes. The wins and losses are the products of the process. The process is getting the kids to be the best they can be. Then everything else falls into place.”

For students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college, Mominey and his wife Denise created an NSU legacy gift providing student-athletic scholarships.

“NSU has provided my family and me a good life and an opportunity that I didn’t even know could be there when I arrived,” said Mominey, who has led NSU’s athletics program for 15 years and coached its championship baseball team for 10 seasons—starting in August 2001. In January 2002 Mominey was named NSU’s director of athletics, a role he served while continuing to coach the baseball team through the 2010 season.

“That opportunity at NSU helped me find my way,” he said. “It helped me expand my horizons of what I wanted to do. Someone in this institution saw something in me that helped me realize my dream and pursue my passion of working with student-athletes. NSU has given a lot to me, so I want to give back.”

Mominey has seen many student-athletes become the first members of their families to graduate from college. “If not for that scholarship, there may not have been an opportunity to pursue that college education. The impact of that scholarship and the impact of what we do on a daily basis is a forever thing,” he said.

“To me, the basis for any program starts and ends with scholarships because that is your investment in people. Those are the kids who are going to be performing for you—whether it’s in the pool, on the field, or on the basketball court. The sustainability of those scholarships is going to be the bloodline to any program.”

Under Mominey’s leadership, the athletics program has grown from 11 to 18 sports and from 150 to more than 370 student-athletes. The seven intercollegiate athletic teams added include men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s cross country, women’s tennis, and women’s rowing. NSU teams have won eight NCAA National Championships and produced 16 individual NCAA national champions.

In addition, NSU athletic teams have also won 29 Sunshine State Conference titles under Mominey’s leadership.

Mominey played a role in starting the NSU Athletic Hall of Fame and the development of the Athletic Advisory Council, the Student-Athlete Alumni Association, and the Shark Booster Club. The annual Scholarship Golf Classic has raised more than $6.5 million for an endowment fund to support athletic scholarships and other academic needs.

“We need to stay focused on fulfilling the potential of these young men and women in all facets of their lives,” he said. “Hopefully, in the end, we can make a positive impact—one that sets them on their way to a good life.”

Mominey grew up in “blue-collar” northeast Ohio, outside Cleveland. His mother worked in the high school cafeteria, and his father was a firefighter at a chemical plant. His parents “found a way” to pay for parochial school for him and his brother, and they set an example for their children by volunteering at church and fundraising events.

“Philanthropy has always been a big part of my life. I think my parents taught me that at an early age,” said Mominey, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and a master of science degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami.


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