The tide of senior leadership shifts at VMI continued rising Friday. The Division I school’s director of athletics, Dave Diles, accepted the same position at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University.
Diles, 59, returns to his home state, to a school that is Division II in all sports apart from men’s ice hockey, which the Lakers play at the Division I level.
The departure of Diles, the VMI AD since 2013, follows those of retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, the superintendent for 17 years who left in October of 2020, and Col. William Wanovich, the commandant of cadets who left in June. Peay’s resignation came soon after Gov. Ralph Northam announced an investigation into the state school’s culture and policies, in response to reports of racism.
In comments VMI released Friday, Diles thanked Peay for the opportunity provided in Lexington and added, “Outside of my parents, he has been one of the most influential people in my life and working for him has been transformative both professionally and personally.”
Diles, the son of acclaimed former TV sports broadcaster Dave Diles and a native of the Detroit area, was previously athletic director at Case Western Reserve, Eastern Michigan and St. Bonaventure. He succeeded Donny White at VMI.
Diles hired Scott Wach-enheim as football coach in December of 2014, and basketball coach Dan Earl in April of 2015. Each was named 2021 Southern Conference coach of the year in his respective sport, and Wachenheim was recognized as the FCS coach of the year.
During the spring football season, the Keydets went 6-2, their first winning season since 1981, captured their first Southern Conference championship since 1977 and advanced to the FCS playoffs for the first time.
Lake Superior State, located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has approximately 2,000 undergraduate students. About 88% are Michigan residents. Diles succeeds Dr. David Paitson, who resigned after four years and became an assistant professor of sport management at the University of Indianapolis.