Athletic staff filled with hire of Schaus

Knowing his bloodlines, NIU’s assistant athletic director for development Jim Schaus is a natural for his new job with the Huskies.

The 32-year-old Schaus joined the NIU intercollegiate athletics staff earlier this month and will oversee the development area, athletic director Gerald O’Dell announced.

The hiring is subject to approval of the Board of Regents.

“I love intercollegiate athletics. It’s in my blood,” Schaus said. “I love the college community and the Midwestern environment. Because of the 11 years I spent in Indiana, I look at myself as a midwesterner. I feel like I’m home here in DeKalb.

“And I look at this position with Northern Illinois as a tremendous opportunity and challenge for me personally. There’s a number of positives about Northern Illinois. There’s a hill to climb, but we can get to the top of it. Our best resources are the fine people on our staff and the support in our community.”

Schaus arrives in DeKalb with an extensive athletic resume and exposure to major-college programs.

Prior to NIU, he worked as an assistant vice president at Host Creative Communications in Charlotte, N.C., and served four years as an assistant athletic director at the University of Oregon (1987-91) and as a radio-TV marketing assistant at West Virginia University (1986-87). Schaus also worked as the director of marketing for the National Football League’s Washington Redskins (1983-86) and as a publicist for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (1983).

You may have also heard of his father, Fred Schaus—former West Virginia University and Purdue University men’s basketball coach and WVU athletic director, plus Los Angeles Lakers coach and general manager.

Born in Morgantown, W. Va., in 1960, a year after his dad’s Jerry West-led West Virginia quintet dropped a 71-70 decision to the University of California in the NCAA title game, Schaus spent his formative years smack in the middle of intercollegiate athletics.

Which is what impressed the NIU search committee and O’Dell.

“Jim is extremely creative,” O’Dell said. “He’s a tireless worker. I know he will be great with our constituents. He’s the type of person who will be immediately accepted by our community because of his warm personality.”

Schaus fills the role vacated by former NIU associate athletic director Tom Mitchell, who became the university’s acting vice president for development last May.