The Student Newspaper of Murray State

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Murray State announce new Athletic Director

Nico Yantko was introduced as Murray State’s new athletic director on Tuesday, Aug. 16. Photo courtesy of David Eaton.

Jakob Milani
Sports Editor
[email protected]


Big change continues to happen for Murray State’s athletic department in 2022 as Nico Yantko officially took over as Murray State’s director of athletics.

The move comes after former Athletics Director Kevin Saal accepted a job at Wichita State University in June. Yantko played as a quarterback at Murray State from 2007-09 and has worked directly under other athletics directors at the University of Missouri and University of Louisiana.

President Bob Jackson spoke to Racer Athletics about the move. 

”We are extremely happy to have Nico back home,” Jackson said. “He has a wealth of experience at the highest level and will provide the leadership to move us forward in every respect as we transition to the MVC and MVFC—cademically, athletically and otherwise. s I state often, our best days are in front of us as we continue expanding on our 100-year legacy of excellence.”

Yantko also spoke to Racer Athletics on the day of his hiring. He said earning this honor is “a dream come true.”

“This opportunity is unbelievably humbling, considering how much this institution and what it stands for means to me and so many others,” Yantko said. “I cannot thank Dr. Jackson and the rest of our University leadership enough for the chance to return home.”

Jackson continued to praise Yantko at an official press conference for his hiring on Aug. 16. Jackson called Yantko “one of the most passionate, hard-working and visionary athletic administrators that I have known.”

 “He will bring that here as we move to the next level and advance all of our programs,” Jackson said. “There is not anyone more qualified to do this work and take us to the next level.”

Along with this honor, Yantko was also named to The Athletic’s “40 Under-40” list for the rising stars in college sports. Yantko went on to talk about how humbled he was to be recognized by The Athletic in an interview with Racer Athletics.

“I have been extremely fortunate to work with amazing colleagues, coaches and student athletes at a number of outstanding institutions,” Yantko said. “This is a direct reflection of all of these people, and I cannot wait to continue this amazing journey as the Director of Athletics at Murray State.”

Yantko contiued by saying there’s no place he’d rather be and raise his family than in Murray.

“Murray State has been built on relationships, and with every special moment we share together, we will continue to build and advance the Racers’ tradition of excellence,” Yantko said. “There is no higher honor than to serve my alma mater in this role, and [my wife] and I cannot think of a better place to raise our family.”

With his most recent success at Louisiana with the Ragin’ Cajuns and plenty of experience under his belt, Yantko looks to take Murray State Athletics to the highest it can go. With Murray State heading into the MVC this season and the MVFC in 2023, there’s no better time for him to show his worth.

More to Discover