David Diles, director of intercollegiate athletics

Lake Superior State University Athletic Director Dr. David Diles Announces Upcoming Retirement

David Diles, director of intercollegiate athletics

Dr. David Diles, director of intercollegiate athletics at Lake Superior State University, announces his retirement.


Dr. David Diles, director of intercollegiate athletics at Lake Superior State University, will retire on Oct. 31, 2023. The veteran collegiate athletics executive assumed the role on Aug. 2, 2021. Lake State has formed a search committee and begun a national search for his replacement. Associate Athletic Director Abbie Laajala, who has held several positions in LSSU sports since 2016, will step in as interim deputy athletic director effective Sept. 1, the date when Dr. Diles switches to remote work for his final months on the job, to support on-site operations during the transition.

“It’s been an honor to serve Lake Superior State University, and I’m very grateful for a tremendously rewarding career; however, it is the right time for me to retire from college athletics,” said Dr. Diles. “This profession requires a great investment of time and energy and has physical demands that, after nearly three decades in this role, are better passed along to new leadership. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, and my family and I are ready for the next chapter.”

A Michigan native, Diles arrived to LSSU after heading athletics programs at Virginia Military Institute (2013-21), Case Western Reserve University (2005-13), Eastern Michigan University (1999-2005), and St. Bonaventure University (1995-99), among other earlier athletics jobs. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master of sports administration from Ohio University and a doctorate of education from University of Michigan.

“We thank Dr. Dave Diles for his unwavering commitment to LSSU athletics. His timespan was brief, but his impact was enduring, helping student-athletes, coaches, and staff in many macro-level and micro-level ways on game day, during practice, and, as importantly, in the classroom,” said Lake State Board of Trustees Chair Timothy L. Lukenda. “We root for him and his family in his well-deserved retirement. And we thank him for his input as a consultant during our efficient and thorough search for his successor.”

LSSU Interim President Dr. Lynn G. Gillette added, “An ultimate team player, Dave leaves big shoes to fill for Laker Athletics. He has proven to be such the consummate LSSU teammate that he has agreed to advise us as we search for his replacement. That’s Laker Athletics in a nutshell.”