BAY CITY, Mich. — Tom Kirinovic, who has gained recognition for his skills in areas of athletics management, public relations, marketing, and fundraising, served as a member of the Ferris State University athletics department staff for more than 27 years. He was appointed interim athletics director in mid-July 1999 before becoming a unanimous choice for the athletic director’s position, which he held until his retirement in June 2010.
In his 11-year tenure as athletics director, Kirinovic was responsible for overseeing the Bulldogs’ 15-sport intercollegiate athletics program. Under his leadership, more than 800 student-athletes received academic all-conference honors and more than 375 student-athletes were tabbed as all-conference performers. The Bulldogs also won 13 conference championships and more than 85 student-athletes attained All-America recognition.
Additionally, in the Kirinovic era, FSU completed or renovated athletic facilities for basketball, football, softball, track, volleyball, ice hockey, tennis and golf under his watch along with developing the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame. Ferris placed four times among the nation’s top 35 programs in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division II All-Sports Standings over his final six years, including the school’s highest finish ever at 21st in 2004-05. In his final three years, two different FSU student-athletes were also chosen as the nation’s top overall student-athlete in any sport at the Division II level with both coming from the Bulldog football program.
In his time as AD, 14 of FSU’s 15 teams qualified for NCAA National Tournament competition and five posted their highest-ever national finishes at the Division II level. The Bulldogs finished in the upper half of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) President’s Trophy All-Sports Standings all 11 years under Kirinovic, including two runner-up efforts and six top three showings. He was also responsible for hiring five of Ferris’ current head coaches who presently direct 10 of FSU’s 15 varsity programs.
Kirinovic was honored as Ferris State’s 2009-10 “Pete Peterson Pride Award” recipient for his loyalty and unselfish support of Bulldog Athletics.
Prior to becoming athletics
director, Kirinovic was formerly the department’s associate
athletics director since August 1994. He was originally
appointed interim athletics director on April 8, 1993, following
the retirement of then athletics director Dean Davenport. Kirinovic
also served a two-year (1992-93) stint as assistant athletics
director at FSU
after holding the dual position of assistant athletics director and ice arena manager from 1987-91. In 1991, he was appointed as fundraising manager in the department.
He initially began his FSU career in August 1982, returning to his alma mater as athletic business manager. Along with his administrative work, Kirinovic coached the 1989 Ferris State softball team to a 17-15 overall record and its first winning season in six years. He also logged five years of coaching experience at Ovid-Elsie High School in Elsie, Mich., as a varsity assistant for both football and basketball while also serving as head coach of the school’s freshmen and junior varsity baseball program.
Kirinovic was active in conference, regional and national committees during his tenure at Ferris State. Most recently, he served on the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association (DII ADA) Board of Directors along with the NCAA Division II National Football Committee. He was also a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Basketball Ranking Committee. Kirinovic served as the GLIAC President for the 2005-06 athletics season.
In addition to being a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Kirinovic has held membership in the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administration (NACMA). He is a member of the Big Rapids (Mich.) Lions Club, is a past chair of the Mecosta-Osceola United Way Drive, and a past president of the Big Rapids Public Schools’ Board of Education.
Kirinovic, 56, received a bachelor’s degree in business education from Ferris in 1977 and a master’s in education administration from Central Michigan University in 1982. He and his wife, Marge, are the parents of two sons, Blake (29) and Matt (26), both of whom have been involved working in the athletics field.
Kirinovic becomes the 23rd recipient of the Donahue Award and the second FSU employee to earn the accolades, joining Dr. Mark Kosciuszko (2003). The 22 previous award winners are: George MacDonald, Grand Valley State University (1988); Bob Hensee, Hillsdale College (1989); Ted Kearly, Michigan Technological University (1990); Barb Patrick, Northern Michigan University (1991); Bud Cooper, Lake Superior State (1992); Vern Norris, GLIAC Commissioner (1993), Dorothy Dreyer, Wayne State University (1994); Dr. Thomas Hendrix, Grand Valley State (1995); Jack McAvoy, Hillsdale (1996); Jack Finn, Northwood University (1997); Bob Becker, Saginaw Valley State University (1999); Chris Petrouleas, Wayne State (2000); Joan Boand, Grand Valley State (2001); Dr. Charles Jones, Lake Superior State (2002); Dr. Mark Kosciuszko, Ferris State University (2003); Michael Corbett, Gannon University (2004); Bob Wendling, Ashland University (2005); Rick Yeo, Michigan Tech (2006); Bill Crawford, Lake Superior State (2007); Bob Brennan, Wayne State (2008); Tom Brown GLIAC Commissioner (2009); and George Eastland, Faculty Athletics Representative (2010).