Jude Killy | Courtesy of UMaine

Miami University in Ohio head baseball coach Danny Hayden had a tear in his eye when he sent Jude Killy a congratulatory message after learning Killy would be the new athletic director at the University of Maine.

The Bangor Daily News first reported Killy’s hiring on Tuesday, and the University of Maine confirmed on Wednesday that Killy signed a five-year contract worth $250,000 a year. He begins the new role on Jan. 30, 2023.

“It is a huge loss for our athletic department and a monster step for him,” Hayden said. “He is certainly more than ready to take on this challenge. I’m thrilled for him. He has been one of my closest friends for 10 years.”

Killy was Miami University’s deputy director of athletics and chief of staff, and he oversaw the men’s basketball, baseball and football programs along with the men’s swimming and diving team. He was also the athletic administrator for human performance and wellness, human resources and development and was the coaches’ liaison.

He will face a number of challenges as he steps into the athletic director role at UMaine, including managing the athletic budget, which is one of the lowest in the three conferences it participates in for its various sports — Hockey East, America East and the Colonial Athletic Association.

There is also the allocation of the $90 million gift from the Harold Alfond Foundation for new athletic facilities and upgrades to existing ones.

“Challenges don’t scare him,” said Jeff Porter, Miami’s assistant vice president for intercollegiate athletics and associate athletic director for development.

“He will be the first one at work and the last one to leave,” he added.

Killy has been at Miami since 2008 after spending six years at the University of Pittsburgh.

Killy was one of three finalists for the athletic director position at Maine, along with former Old Town resident Scott Kull, who had been the athletics director for external operations at the University of Utah, and Dr. Renae Myles Payne, who was an associate athletic director at the University of Miami in Florida.

He will replace Ken Ralph, who left for the same job at Southwestern University in Texas.

Porter and Hayden said Killy is honest and he won’t be afraid to speak his mind. He will hold coaches and administrators accountable for their actions.

Hayden said Killy won’t hesitate to tell somebody if something they’re doing isn’t working but he will also help them fix it.

“Jude really wants to win and he will find ways to do it,” Porter added.

Hayden said Miami has a great athletic department thanks to Killy.

“We have incredible facilities, which have set us up for success. Jude has never taken credit for it but he is the guy who goes in there and gets his hands dirty and finds ways to overcome challenges,” Hayden said.

“He will be creative in finding solutions to problems. He will find ways to make the athletic program better and move it in the right direction.”

Porter and Hayden both added that Killy is an outstanding fundraiser who cares about the student-athletes and making sure they have what they need to be successful on and off the playing field.

They also said he will build strong relationships with coaches, players, administrators, donors and people in the community and across the state.

Hayden said Killy was like a mentor to him.

“He has been very active in my development as a coach. He really wanted me to become the best coach I could be,” Hayden said.

Hayden said Killy will bring “high standards” with him as well as a lot of energy.

“Everyone will take a lot of pride in putting on a University of Maine shirt,” Hayden said.