Updated on August, 2018
Chris Massaro enters his 14th year at Middle Tennessee looking to build upon the unparalleled success the athletic department has realized since he was named Director of Athletics on April 8, 2005.
During Massaro’s tenure, Middle Tennessee has realized its greatest athletic and academic successes as evidenced by the record-setting performances by all 17 sports.
Proving to be a true visionary, Massaro has helped revolutionize the Blue Raiders’ athletic department while helping pave the way for even greater success in future years. With Massaro’s leadership, that vision took a historical step on Nov. 29, 2012 when the University accepted an invitation to join Conference USA. The Blue Raiders became official members on July 1, 2013.
Academic enhancement has also skyrocketed under Massaro’s leadership. Massaro inherited a football program with a national-low score of 812 and saw it increase to 990 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2009. In November 2017, Middle Tennessee’s student-athletes posted a Graduation Success Rate of 88 percent which set a new school record.
For the last nine years, all 17 of Middle Tennessee's athletic teams have earned a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) of over 930. Football, men’s golf, women’s golf, volleyball, baseball, and women’s basketball have each received NCAA Public Recognition Awards for being ranked in the top 10 percent of their sport. Football continues to maintain a high level APR score of 982 (2016-17). In 2016, both basketball programs were recognized by USA Today for having a 100 percent graduation rate.
Middle Tennessee has also excelled in the athletic arena during Massaro’s tenure. Following are some of the highlights accomplished under Massaro:
Championships (regular season and tournament): 54
Baseball: The team captured the regular season and tournament championship in 2009 and advanced to the NCAAs.
Basketball (Men): MT was the 2017 regular season and C-USA Tournament champs while advancing to the round of 32 in the NCAAs for the second straight year. The Blue Raiders upset No. 2 seed Michigan State in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament and upended Minnesota in 2017. The program turned in a record 27-7 season in 2011-12 to win the SBC regular season title then followed that with a 28-6 mark and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2012-13. The program owns six conference championships.
Basketball (Women): Team has advanced to 13 straight postseason appearances, including nine NCAA Tournament’s
Football: Middle Tennessee has appeared in seven bowl games and been bowl eligible nine times in 12 years. The Blue Raiders won the 2009 New Orleans Bowl and finished with a 10-3 record and a No. 33 national ranking. MT also won the 2017 Camellia Bowl.
Golf (Men): The men’s golf team has made eight NCAA Regional appearances in last 11 years, including a trip to the NCAA Championships in 2008 to finish 15th nationally.
Golf (Women): Won back-to-back conference championships in 2015 and 2016 and advanced to first NCAA Regional in 2015, then again in 2016.
Soccer (Women): The women’s soccer program won the 2010 SBC Championship and advanced to their first NCAA Tournament.
Tennis (Men): The Middle Tennessee tennis doubles team of Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom won the National Championship in 2007 – the first NCAA doubles title in Athletic Department history. They have three total conference championships.
Track and Field, Cross Country: The Middle Tennessee track and field teams have combined for nine conference titles. The 2016 men’s outdoor squad finished No. 18 in the nation, while the 2007 men’s team finished No. 21 in the nation. The 2014 team finished 24th, the 2015 squad was 30th, and the 2009 women’s indoor team ranked tied for 30th. The 2014 women’s cross country team won its first-ever conference title and the men had one in 2009. The women won again in 2017.
Volleyball: The women’s volleyball team reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in 2007 and has made six NCAA appearances the last 12 years.
The Blue Raiders have also realized tremendous growth with their athletic facilities. Recently, Massaro launched ‘Build Blue’ which is a $100 million facility improvement plan that will transform the entire athletic program. Prior to that announcement, more than $40 million in facility upgrades and capital improvements have come under Massaro’s watch, including the largest unrestricted gift in athletic department history and the most substantial gift in women’s athletics history. Among the capital improvements are:
- $12 million Murphy Center renovation
- $6 million for Reese Smith Jr. Baseball Stadium renovation
- $5.8 million new Adams Family Tennis Complex
- $4 million for new Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium
- Football stadium renovations, including new turf, outdoor suites, an upgraded video board and new LED ribbon boards in 2017.
Massaro’s success at Middle Tennessee can also be seen in his hiring practices. There has been a tremendous track record for hiring quality coaches with head football coach Rick Stockstill, women’s head basketball coach Rick Insell, former men’s golf coaches Whit Turnbow and Brennan Webb, and men’s tennis coach Jimmy Borendame – four Massaro hires – each earned Coach of the Year honors in their first seasons. In all, Massaro’s guidance has provided coaches with the resources to produce 54 conference titles, 43 NCAA team postseason appearances, the 2007 NCAA National Championship doubles team of Marco Born and Andreas Siljestrom, two Conference Overall Athletes of the Year, the C-USA Female Athlete of the Year and 34 Coach of the Year awards.
Middle Tennessee can boast of a complete athletic department as evidenced by capturing six of a possible eight Sun Belt Conference All-Sports Trophies under Massaro. The Blue Raiders also have had their five highest NACDA Cup finishes in school history during Massaro’s tenure with three straight appearances in the top 100.
Massaro has also made a significant upgrade in the Blue Raider football schedule since his arrival. He brought Virginia out of the ACC to Floyd Stadium in 2007 and then inked Maryland to play in Murfreesboro in 2008. In 2009, Massaro had Mississippi State come to Floyd Stadium, which made it the first SEC program to play in a Sun Belt stadium. The Blue Raiders entertained Georgia Tech in 2011, BYU in 2014 Vanderbilt in 2017. Future schedules will see the Blue Raiders playing home games against Duke (2019 & 2025), Virginia Tech (2020), and Missouri (2022).
Along with growing the Middle Tennessee athletic program, Massaro has been instrumental on numerous national boards and committees. He was appointed to the NCAA Football Issues Committee in March 2008, served as a member of the prestigious NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee for the 2010-11 season, and was appointed to the NCAA Division I Leadership Council. He currently is on the state of Tennessee Hall of Fame Board after serving two years as the organizations president.
The Glenwood Springs, Colo., native earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Northern Colorado in 1983 and his master’s degree in sport administration from Ohio University in 1986. At UNC, Massaro was a five-year football team member.
Massaro is also heavily involved in community service projects and organizations. He is a member of the Rutherford County United Way Board, the Murfreesboro Tennis Commission, the Noon Rotary Club, and he served on the search committee for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce president. He has also served on the City Golf Commission and the Red Cross Board.
Massaro and his wife, Cindy, have four children: Hank, Lainey, Rachel, and Ben.