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ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah's Division I university in transition faces another transition in the athletic department.
Longtime athletic director Jason Boothe announced he is stepping down Friday "to pursue other opportunities," the university announced in a statement. Boothe has been athletic director in St. George for 12 years, since he was installed in the spring of 2010.
"My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in southern Utah since arriving in 2010. We came with three young children and this wonderful community and institution embraced all of us since day one making us feel welcomed and loved," Boothe said in a statement. "I take great pride in the incredible growth and accomplishments that the Athletic Department has enjoyed during my time here. However, my family and I have decided that we are ready for a new opportunity. Dixie State Athletics is poised for continued growth and success at the highest level.
"I look forward to being a fan and supporting the wonderful Trailblazer coaches and student-athletes."
Dixie State has been home to immense change under Boothe's tenure, most notably the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I in 2019. Prior to joining the Western Athletic Conference, the Trailblazers won a 24 regular season and postseason conference championships as members of the Pacific West and Rocky Mountain Athletic conferences.
The Trailblazers made a combined 57 NCAA Division II postseason appearances, including a berth in the Division II Women's College World Series three times in the women's softball program advancing to the D-II College World Series and a national runner-up finish in 2015.
Off the field, Dixie State increased its overall student-athlete GPA from 2.91 in 2010 to 3.29 under Boothe's direction, including more than 1,000 all-conference academic honors. His athletes completed more than 13,000 hours of community service and won the PacWest's community engagement award three times and all-NCAA honors twice.
In an effort to upgrade facilities and fundraising across the board with the move to Division I, Boothe spearheaded a charge to increase the athletic department's budget from $3.9 million to $11.5 million, including increasing booster club donations by 114%, team spending by 76% and corporate sponsorships by 175% since 2015.
One of Boothe's final acts — completed in late October — was finalizing a contract extension for head football coach Paul Peterson, the former Boston College quarterback who came to St. George from Snow College, through the 2025 season.
"I am grateful for the dedication of Dr. Boothe and his family to Trailblazer Athletics," Dixie State president Richard B. Williams said. "The department has seen a tremendous transformation during his tenure, and he will be appreciated for decades to come."
Dixie State will soon transition to Utah Tech University after Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed into law in November a new piece of legislation that was approved by the House 56-15 and Senate 17-12 to rename the four-year public university in St. George following a contentious debate among the school's students, alumni base and community members of the school's name.