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UVI Athletic Director Sauer Wins National Award

Peter Sauer, athletic director at UVI Since he came on as the University of the Virgin Islands athletic director in 2000, Peter Sauer has been actively looking for ways to make his program stand out.
He hosted the San Antonio Spurs after they won the NBA championship in 2005 and has, working with Basketball Travelers, turned UVI into a premier pre-season spot for college teams with the Paradise Jam Basketball Tournament.
Now, after years of putting UVI in the national spotlight, Sauer recently won some national acclaim himself, picking up the National Association of College Athletic Directors Under Armour AD of the Year Award.
The award is handed out in seven different categories and four different geographic regions. Sauer was one of 29 athletic directors honored about three weeks ago at the association’s 44th annual convention in Orlando, Fla. — and the only winner in the international category. The National Association of College Athletic Directors has 6,000 members.
"More than anything, this award speaks to the dedication of our student-athletes, our coaching staff, our athletics department and to the support we receive from the university and the greater community," Sauer said in an interview with the Source. "I’m extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish and I hope we can continue to build and improve our athletic program."
There are a few key steps in that process, he said. While he said Paradise Jam this year would be the best field in tournament history, Sauer said UVI’s male basketball team will also get a chance to showcase its talent on the court against the Intercollegiate Athletic League’s (LAI) top team, the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras.
"This is a big step for our men’s basketball program," he said. "The game is not going to be televised, but we will be playing in between games on Saturday night, so we could have Purdue play at 7 p.m., then UVI, followed by Tennessee at 10 p.m. It’s great. The whole point is showing that our team is getting good enough to play in the Paradise Jam and demonstrating to our fans how good we’ve gotten."
Getting into the LAI has been a real stepping stone for UVI, giving players the feel of athletic programs on the mainland, Sauer said. Over the past year UVI has increased its varsity teams from six to 12 and its student athletes from 50 to 100.
"I think it’s important for high school students in the Virgin Islands to have the opportunity to come to their home-state school or territory school and participate in college sports," he said. "Growing the teams is really important and seeing the level of play rise so much over the past few years — we still have a ways to go yet — is really important too."
Being a part of the league has also helped build UVI’s recruiting efforts, which Sauer said is focused this summer on the women’s basketball team — an area that’s most likely to field a championship win.
Another key step is continuing to bring in the money, Sauer said.
"We’ve had to raise over $3 million for our new Wellness Center, improvements to the Sports and Fitness Center and to fund our program at UVI," he said.
Sauer said he will focus on the construction of the 6,200-square-foot Wellness Center over the next few months in hopes that it will provide another boost to the athletic program and bring the campus and community closer together.
"I really think the Wellness Center is going to be great for UVI," he said. "We don’t have a student union, so the Wellness Center is going to be like our student union where people can gather, students and faculty and alumni, and that’s also really important."

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