Dixie State University seeks new athletic director; Trailblazers fall to Utah Valley on the road

Dixie State's Isaiah Pope (21) plays in a WAC basketball game earlier this season, Jan. 8, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University will begin an immediate search for a new athletic director after Dr. Jason Boothe announced that he is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

Dixie State University Athletics Director Jason Boothe is stepping down to seek other opportunities, St. George, Utah, Jan. 7, 2022 | Photo by Dixie State University, St. George News

According to a press release from the university Jan. 7, Boothe said he and his family enjoyed their time in Southern Utah since arriving in 2010 and he is leaving Dixie State at a good moment in its history.

“Dixie State Athletics is poised for continued growth and success at the highest level,” Boothe said. “I look forward to being a fan and supporting the wonderful Trailblazer coaches and student-athletes.”

During Boothe’s tenure, Dixie State Athletics won a combined 24 regular season and postseason conference championships in both the Pacific West and Rocky Mountain Athletic conferences.

The Trailblazers made a combined 57 NCAA Division II postseason appearances, and posted an overall winning percentage of 63 percent for all programs as a D-II member.

Dixie State, home to 15 intercollegiate athletic programs, is in its second year of a transition to NCAA Division I status and is a competing member of the Western Athletic Conference.

Boothe’s influence extended to the classroom as well, as the GPA for Dixie State student athletes increased from 2.91 in 2010 to 3.29 in 2021, with more than 1,000 academic all-conference honors for the Trailblazers.

Members of Dixie State Athletics put in more than 13,000 hours of community service during Boothe’s tenure. The university won the Pacific West Conference Community Engagement Award three times and the NCAA Community Engagement Award twice.

Further, Boothe was instrumental in tremendous fundraising growth and facility upgrades at the university. The Athletics Department budget went from $3.9 million to $11.5 million, including booster club donations that went up by 114% and corporate sponsorships that increased 175% since 2015.

“I am grateful for the dedication of Dr. Boothe and his family to Trailblazer Athletics,” DSU President Richard B. Williams said. “The department has seen a tremendous transformation during his tenure, and he will be appreciated for decades to come.”  

President Williams also announced that an interim athletic director will be named in the coming days.

Utah Valley 79, Dixie State 71

The men’s basketball team managed to keep the game close, but the hot shooting Wolverines handed the Trailblazers a fourth consecutive defeat Saturday afternoon in Orem.

Isaiah Pope scored a season-high 13 points in the contest, including Dixie State’s final eight points of the first half that cut Utah Valley’s lead at intermission to 46-32.

But UVU upped its advantage to 58-42 at the 13:03 mark of the second quarter and the Trailblazers played catch-up for the rest of the way.

Along with Pope, three other Trailblazers scored in double-digits in the loss. Frank Staine led the way with 15 points including two 3-pointers. Jacob Nicolds came off the bench to score 12 points and Cameron Gooden contributed 11 for Dixie State.

Fardaws Aimaq picked up his NCAA Division I-leading 13th double-double of the season for UVU, posting 20 points and 17 rebounds. The Wolverines shot 63% (29-of-46) from the floor.

Utah Valley improved to 11-4 overall with the win including a 2-1 mark in the Western Athletic Conference. Dixie State fell to 7-9, 0-3 in the WAC after the loss.

Dixie State continues its road trip this Wednesday in Riverside, California, taking on California Baptist at 7 p.m. (Pacific Time).

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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