ECU Athletic Director Jeff Compher


Compher attending senior leadership engagement program

Aug. 20, 2015

East Carolina University Director of Athletics Jeff Compher is participating in the 2015 Senior Leader Engagement Program (SLEP) sponsored by United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

The program marks Compher’s second military leadership tour in less than seven weeks after he attended the U.S. Marine Corps Executive Forum at the Pentagon on July 10.

Compher was one of only 30 accepted from 400 nominees. He is the second ECU administrator to be selected; former Provost Marilyn Sheerer was chosen in 2005.

“I have found that the day-to-day operations of the branches in our military are very applicable to what we do in higher education and athletics at East Carolina,” Compher said. “They take young people and make them leaders, the same way we do, so I’m anxious and curious to see their strategies and how they are implemented. I’m excited for this learning opportunity and how I can apply certain things to what we do at ECU.”

Established in 1948, SLEP is the oldest outreach program in the U.S. Department of Defense and the only such event sponsored by the Secretary. The seven-day trip begins Aug. 23 in Washington, D.C., and will feature installations representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

“I’m most curious to see how not one, but all five areas of the military, working together for one goal in a complex structure, interact with each other and decide which one handles certain issues or missions,” Compher said. “The intricacies of how messages come down the chain of command, as well as how the civilian and military sides come together in a political environment fascinate me.”

Approximately 30 executive-level program participants will have the opportunity to engage not only with senior leadership at the Pentagon and each command visited, but also to spend time interacting and participating in some of the most exciting facets of day-to-day operations in the military.

The mission of the program is to familiarize participants with the challenges faced by men and women in uniform and the families who support them, both on and off the battlefield. They will also obtain a better understanding of national defense policies and programs.

Compher was nominated by Steve Duncan, ECU’s assistant vice chancellor for Administration and Finance and Military Programs. Duncan served 32 years across all levels with the U.S. Army to go with five years of joint experience working at the U.S. Department of Defense in personnel and readiness. During his tenure, Duncan achieved the position of GS-15, a civilian equivalent of colonel.

“I thought of Jeff Compher because I believe that there is great commonality across the issues of achieving missions through teamwork and leadership when one compares how the services train and how athletes train,” Duncan said. “I felt Jeff would appreciate seeing how defense organizations emphasize unit cohesion which focuses on the greater good-- the achievement of team goals versus individual accolades. When the team achieves, individual accolades will naturally follow.”

Since his arrival at East Carolina, Duncan has been instrumental in assisting with the university’s Freedom Wall and Veterans Day ceremony, the Memorial Walk and helping ECU achieve the Department of Defense Freedom Award in September of 2010.

ECU Athletics Media Relations