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Portland to Portales for ENMU’s new AD

PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico has a new athletic director, with Matt Billings leaving the Pacific Northwest to join the Greyhounds.

The university announced Saturday that Billings, deputy athletic director at Portland State, was chosen from a pool of three finalists who made on-campus visits over the prior week.

His official start date is Jan. 20.

When reached at his Portland office Monday, Billings said he and his wife liked the change in pace Portales would give them and a change to a location where the university was the community’s focal point.

“My wife and I were 20 years into this career,” Billings said, “and we were really looking for a place where we could come in and make a difference.”

Billings said he would miss the people at Portland State, who were “just really solid people … who do it the right way.”

But the search committee, Elwell, Long and the coaches he talked to made him believe that he would find good people at his next stop as well.

“I told my wife when I was coming down to interview I’d know if it was the spot by noon of that day,” Billings said. “That was the case.”

His first immediate challenge is to take over in mid-year. The university has been without a full-time athletic director since the resignation of Greg Waggoner in June. Waggoner is scheduled to begin in January as AD at Division III Johnson and Wales in Denver. Long, ENMU’s vice president of student affairs, has filled the AD role on an interim basis.

Since Waggoner’s departure, the college had embarked on two searches to fill the position. The first time through, Elwell said, the committee couldn’t come to an agreement on any of the candidates.

Billings held a number of positions within collegiate athletics prior to his eight years at Portland State. He served as director of compliance at Southern Cal from 2008-2010. From 2004-2008, Billings was the assistant athletic director for compliance at Boise State University. Prior to his time at Boise State, he was the director of compliance at Weber State University from 2000-2004.

Billings holds bachelor’s degrees from Utah State University in political science, and Idaho State University in economics. He holds a master’s degree from Idaho State University in athletic administration.

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