Kevin Buisman, Athletics

Keheadshot of Kevin Buismanvin Buisman has served the University as Director of Athletics since 2002. Behind a deft combination of sound decision-making on key internal and external strategies, Buisman has left an indelible and lasting impact on Maverick athletics over the long term.
Over Buisman’s tenure, Minnesota State programs have won three NCAA Division II national titles (women’s basketball 2008-09, softball 2017, indoor track & field 2021-22). The Mavericks have also made 107 NCAA Division II postseason appearances and nine NCAA Division I postseason appearances (men’s hockey).

Buisman has been the architect of MSU’s success by defining important leadership roles across all sports and hiring nearly all of MSU’s current head coaches; four of whom, have earned National Coach of the Year recognition in their respective sports, including Meyer, Hoffner, Magers, and Turgeon.
Branded by the tag line “Building Champions”, fans of the program have come to expect outstanding leadership from student-athletes, not only in competition, but also in the classroom and community. In 2022-23, Minnesota State had 155 student-athletes receive an Academic Achievement Award from the Division 2 Athletic Directors Association (D2 ADA), which topped Northern Sun Conference member institutions. 

With an eye for improving the overall welfare of MSU’s nearly 550 student-athletes, Buisman reorganized and revitalized the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, developed and created proposals that led to the successful implementation of university-wide policies for priority registration and missed classes, and oversaw the department’s Drug & Alcohol Education and Testing program. The current year will also see the launch of a new embedded provider program that will help address a growing concern for the mental well-being of all student-atheltes.
After collaborating with the Department of Campus Recreation to help engineer the implementation of a $6.2 million outdoor facilities plan in 2009-10, Buisman spearheaded donor, alumni, and community support that resulted in just over $14.5 million in state bonding bill funding, allowing for a complete renovation and buildout of new space in the downtown Mayo Clinic Event Center, which became the new home of Maverick men’s and women’s hockey in Fall 2015. 

More recently, Buisman helped garner student fee support for Scheels Field at the Maverick All-Sports Dome, with that multi-purpose, synthetic turf facility for practice and competition opening in 2019.    This fall, Taylor Center’s Bresnan Arena will see more than $1.25 million in upgrades with the addition of a new center-hung Daktronics video scoreboard and sound improvements that will dramatically improve that facilities game environment and fan experience.
Buisman’s leadership of the department has resulted in several other significant changes. Public awareness and interest in the program grew behind his creation of a new athletic mascot logo. MSU football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey teams have enjoyed spikes in home game attendance with fans enjoying an emphasis on a family-friendly environment, which was recognized with the 2011 NCAA Division II National “Award of Excellence for Game Environment” for its highly acclaimed “Don’t Cross the Line” campaign.
Buisman is a former University of Northern Iowa student and football player (BA management and finance ‘87; MBA ‘89) who has been instrumental in advancing gender equity by establishing a revised plan to achieve proportionality in scholarship funding and participation which led to the department being cited by the NCAA as a 2007-08 Diversity in Athletics Award winner in the category of Gender Equity Compliance. In concert with University administration, Buisman was also able to successfully implement a tuition waiver program that has been used effectively to increase the recruitment of diverse student populations to the program. 
Under his guidance, MSU successfully hosted the 2004 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships, along with the 2008 and 2012 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Championships and more recently hosted the 2015 NCAA Division II wrestling super regional championships. 
Buisman serves as a representative on various committees that have helped facilitate Minnesota State University as host for the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Timberwolves team training camps on campus. These outside activities have had a significant economic impact on the local community and undoubtedly played a role in the department’s recognition as the 2004 Greater Mankato Tourism Advocate of the Year.
Buisman chaired the NCAA Division II National Football Committee in 2008 and 2009, after previously serving on the NCAA Division II Regional Men’s Basketball Committee. He was also selected to participate in the 2005 U.S. Army Leadership Development and Assessment Course in Fort Lewis, Wash. In 2006, he completed the nationally-recognized Chair Academy’s two-year intensive training program, which is designed to promote excellence in administrative leadership among higher education professionals. 
Active in the community, Buisman has held various board positions, including with Mankato United Soccer, Mankato Sports Commission, Visit Mankato, and the Greater Mankato Executive Committee and served on the Technical Advisory Committee for a Regional Facilities Development Task Force.
Prior to his appointment at MSU, Buisman, 59, had served as the Associate Director of Athletics for Sports Management at Northern Iowa beginning in 1998 and taught courses as an adjunct instructor in UNI’s Department of Finance.  A native of Marion, Iowa, Buisman was the Athletic Development Coordinator for UNI’s Human Performance Center for two years and spent two years (1996-98) as the UNI-Dome Operations Manager, after working a seven-year stint (1989-96) as the Assistant UNI-Dome Manager.

(More information available on the Athletics website.)