Dr. Mark Groza, Associate Professor of Marketing at Northern Illinois University and the Enterprise Holdings Professor of Sales, was named last month as NIU’s NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative according to Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier.
As the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR), Groza, who was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker for the University of Akron football team from 2002-06, plays a strategic role at the institution, ensuring the academic integrity of the intercollegiate athletics program, facilitating institutional control of intercollegiate athletics, and enhancing the student-athlete experience at NIU.
Groza joined the NIU faculty in August 2012 and was named the Enterprise Holdings Professor of Sales in 2014. He began a term as a member of the NIU Athletic Board in 2016 and will move into the FAR role, replacing Dr. Matt Streb, who had served as the Huskies’ Faculty Athletics Representative since 2012. Streb was named Chief of Staff to President Freeman and Board of Trustees Liaison.
“We are very pleased to welcome Mark and his wife, Mya, to the Huskie Athletics family as NIU’s new Faculty Athletics Representative,” Frazier said. “We’re very fortunate to have a faculty member who can bring his own experience as a student-athlete in the Mid-American Conference to this role and I look forward to working with him on a variety of issues going forward.
“My thanks, also, to Matt Streb for all of the time, effort and investment he has made in making Huskie Athletics better over the last five years as our FAR. He has been an engaged and passionate supporter who cares about the competitive and academic successes of our student-athletes in all sports. I know he will continue to support all of the Huskie teams!”
An internationally-respected expert on sales management, corporate sponsorship and corporate social responsibility, Groza teaches undergraduate courses in professional selling, conducts a variety of consultative research projects related to optimizing sales force performance and has had numerous articles published. In the past, he conducted research on NCAA branding and athletics conference realignment.
After graduating from Akron, where he was a three-time Academic All-MAC selection and earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors as a senior, he earned his master of business administration degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2008. He earned a Ph.D. in business management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 2012.
“I am honored to have been selected as Dr. Matt Streb‘s successor as Faculty Athletic Representative here at Northern Illinois University,” Groza said. “He has done an outstanding job in the role. NIU is truly a world class research institution with a nationally-recognized athletics brand. As lead liaison between the academic and athletics components of our institution, I will work to leverage synergies to further promote the University.
“My wife Mya and I are both former NCAA Division I student-athletes. Thus, I especially look forward to my role helping to ensure student-athlete well-being, academic achievement and career success. Together we will work hard to move NIU forward!”
Groza’s wife, Mya, is an assistant professor of marketing at NIU and was a member of the women’s golf team at the University of Cincinnati as an undergraduate there.
Streb, who plans to remain involved with NIU Athletics through the LEaD Huskie program, which he initiated and directed, enthusiastically endorsed Groza as his successor.
“I think Mark’s going to be awesome, he’s a former student-athlete, he’s a respected academic, he has the right values and he understands the connection between athletics and academics. The student-athletes and the coaches will really enjoy working with him,” Streb said. Streb also reflected on his time in the role as NIU’s Faculty Athletics Representative, which he called one of the most enjoyable of his career.
“A lot of people say you must love being the FAR, my response was always I love being the FAR at NIU,” he said. “At NIU, we put the right emphasis on making sure that we’re not only competitive in competition but we’re competitive in the classroom. Our administrators and coaches are committed to the academic success of our student-athletes. The fact you have people so committed to their complete success makes the job of FAR at NIU enjoyable.
“The thing that was most rewarding and that I will miss the most is working with our student-athletes. They are a phenomenal group of young men and women and great representatives of our university. I’m a huge fan of our student-athletes and that’s certainly not going to change.”