This has been a season of discontent for the Bowling Green Falcons. Over the last four months, BGSU has witnessed the departures of football head coach Dino Babers and wide receiver Gehrig Dieter for other colleges, as well as Roger Lewis and Matt Johnson to possible NFL careers.
Even on the administrative side, the pain of good-bye was felt as the Falcons lost star-of-ESPN-broadcasts Scott Swegan from the media relations department.
Now, Bowling Green has to account for perhaps the biggest loss of them all. Chris Kingston, the Falcons' director of athletics, has resigned to take a job at Learfield Sports. His final day with the school will be May 10.
Kingston replaced outgoing athletic director Greg Christopher in the summer of 2013. He watched that fall as his football team won the school's first Mid-American Conference championship in 21 years. That championship resulted in a coaching change and Kingston's first major hire, as Dave Clawson moved on to Wake Forest.
Kingston quickly moved to hire Dino Babers from Eastern Illinois, and in two seasons, Babers led his team to two MAC Championship games, a bowl victory and the 2015 MAC championship. When Babers departed for Syracuse following the 2015 title game, Kingston selected Mike Jinks of Texas Tech to be the new football coach.
Football was not the only major sport to make a coaching change in Kingston's first year on the job. In March 2014, Kingston chose to not extend the contract of head coach Louis Orr. Instead, he hired Chris Jans, who had spent several years as an assistant at Wichita State.
Jans immediately paid off, as the Falcons posted a 20-win season in 2014-15 and earned BGSU's first postseason win in 40 years. Unfortunately, off-the-court issues led to Jans' dismissal after just one season. Kingston responded by bringing home Michael Huger.
Huger was a former BGSU star who had found enormous success as an assistant under former BGSU head coach Jim Larranaga at George Mason and Miami. In his first season at BGSU, Huger led the Falcons to the semifinals of the MAC Tournament. It was the first time Bowling Green had multiple wins in a MAC tournament in over a decade.
In hockey, Kingston oversaw the Falcons' move to the WCHA. In their first three seasons in the league, BGSU has played in the WCHA Final Five three times, and their last two campaigns have resulted in the school's first back-to-back 20-win seasons in 20 years.
The Falcons' gymnastics team just completed it's first trip to the NCAA Regionals in 25 years, while track and field star Brooke Pleger became the program's first-ever three-time All-American under Kingston's watch.
Bowling Green student-athletes have also excelled academically under Kingston. The cumulative GPA of the student-athletes in the fall of 2015 was 3.234, and the women's programs have combined to win the MAC's Faculty Athletics Representative Award for two straight years (overall highest GPA).
Kingston is leaving BGSU to become a vice-president with Learfield Sports, a marketing firm that has partnered extensively with Bowling Green through the years. According to Kingston, "This career change is an opportunity for me to continue serving in the collegiate space and positively impact the resources and opportunities for student-athletes nationwide."
The search for a new athletics director will begin immediately, but one potential inside name to watch is Kit Hughes. Hughes is entering his third year with BGSU this month after arriving in April 2014 following a seven-year stint at North Carolina State. Hughes worked with Kingston in the athletic department at NCSU before Kingston came to Bowling Green, and he holds the position of Senior Associate Athletic Director -- the same title Kingston held with the Wolfpack before he was hired by the Falcons.
For the official press release from Bowling Green, including an open letter from Kingston, click HERE.