In the environment of constant change, chaos and excitement that exists at Kennesaw State, a steady hand is needed to steer the ship, and the athletics department believes they found an individual who brings a breadth of experience and leadership to the table.
From being a four-year starter as an offensive lineman at the University of Oklahoma to helping oversee one of college football’s largest budgets at the University of Alabama, KSU’s new Athletic Director Milton Overton is no stranger to the role of a leader and the pressures that come with it.
During a career that has spanned more than two decades and included stints at Texas Christian University, Texas A&M, Alabama and Florida A&M, Overton has gradually built up the knowledge and skills to make him a successful athletic director at a major university.
On Oct. 31, 2017, Overton was announced as the fourth athletic director at KSU, replacing the departed Vaughn Williams after a three-month search. Overton came to KSU after two successful years at FAMU, a school that experienced a revenue increase of $2 million under his tenure.
Just as Williams oversaw an era of unprecedented expansion and success for Owl athletics, Overton will be tasked to deal with the continued growth and publicity surrounding the Owls.
Being actively involved with student-athletes and setting a positive example from his position are aspects of his character that drive his motivations. At FAMU, he created a philanthropic endeavor titled “Investing in Champions,” which aimed at helping fund athletics programs through giving and incentivized fans by offering event and parking tickets in exchange.
“I’m the kind of person who understands that I’m here to serve our student-athletes first, serve our coaches, but also serve our institution,” Overton said. “I realize that athletics lines up with the institution, and we’re a partner.”
Another important element of Overton’s approach is his emphasis on education for student-athletes. With his focus on compliance and creating opportunities, FAMU was able to increase grade point averages in every sport, and each team was academically eligible for postseason play for the first time in several years.
“I want to do, frankly, my best…with doing well in the business end of sports but also always doing well academically,” Overton said. “My theme even before I came here was building champions in the classroom, on the field and life through academic integrity and excellence.”
Despite the incredible amount of financial responsibility that Overton will face in his time here, his history of fiscal intelligence and strength in his values are elements that reflect his calm, steady approach to budgeting.
This approach has been formed through years of both personal and professional experience. The athletics department at FAMU presented its first balanced budget in more than a decade under Overton for the 2016-17 season.
“The long-term vision really has to be natural. We’re going to grow at the pace that is comfortable and the pace that is smart,” Overton said. “Through faith and through hard work…I have an opportunity to serve one of the greatest institutions in America.”