Raised humbly on a farm in central Arkansas, Jason Carmichael knows the importance of grit. As the University of West Georgia’s new director of athletics, Carmichael will bring that grit — along with other traits he’s gained throughout life like competitiveness, determination and perseverance — to the role.
“Growing up in a situation of limited means, my parents instilled in me that whatever you do, whatever opportunity or resources you have in front of you, you should use them to the maximum,” Carmichael said. “That means you have to be precise and intentional with everything you’re given, and you’ll be held accountable if you fail to deliver on that promise.”
As director of athletics, Carmichael will provide executive leadership, operational management and strategic direction in the pursuit of excellence for UWG’s more than 500 student-athletes in 14 varsity sports as well as a nationally recognized and award-winning UWG cheerleading program.
“Jason is a proven leader who has elevated the statuses of athletics departments he has directed, and we are eager to have his thought-partnership and expertise on our campus as we remain committed to the curation of a first-choice university,” said Dr. Brendan Kelly, UWG president. “Our athletics program is a big part of the university’s front porch, building affinity and community. With Jason in place, I look forward to moving this crucial component of the university experience forward.”
Carmichael said he’s been excited to start at UWG since being named to the position last month — so much so that he’s had to pinch himself a couple of times to recall it’s really happening.
“Even on my first day, I can tell this place is special,” Carmichael said on his first official day at UWG Monday. “With the history of the institution and athletics program, the student-athletes and staff on our team, and the physical assets we have on campus, UWG is uniquely equipped to go to the next level. It is an honor to be part of that, and I am so excited to get started.”
From a young age, Carmichael had a passion for athletics, and he was able to explore a variety of sports during his adolescence — from football to cross country and track and field. His sport of choice, though, was basketball, earning his first head coaching position at the age of 21.
“What I love about athletics is that you’re always chasing excellence, competing to bring the best out of yourself and your teammates,” Carmichael said. “One of the unique things about athletics in a college setting is that we are so acutely focused on results and chasing excellence. Having that as part of our student-athletes’ experiences while they’re undergoing so much development in their personal and educational lives is a remarkable thing to see.”
Carmichael’s vision for UWG athletics aligns well with the university’s strategic plan and its three stated priorities of relevance, competitiveness and placemaking.
“Right now, I look forward to accelerating my knowledge of the assets we have at UWG and in our community so I can get an understanding of any short-term gains we can make to enhance our competitiveness both on and off the field,” Carmichael said. “For me, it’s all about the people. The infrastructure, facilities, and physical resources we have here at UWG are fantastic, but the most exciting thing is getting to know the people in our community — from the student-athletes to the coaches and athletics staff to the alumni and fans who call this place home.”
Carmichael joins UWG from California State University East Bay, where he served as director of intercollegiate athletics since 2017. Before joining CSUEB, he served as the director of athletics at Western State Colorado University and the inaugural athletics director at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in kinesiology from Harding University and a master’s degree in physical education, health and recreation from Emporia State University. Carmichael and his wife, Erin, have four children between the ages of 5 and 10, and in their spare time, they enjoy hiking and cycling.