Skip to main content
nku athletic director christina roybal

May 3, 2022 - Northern Kentucky University announces that Christina Roybal has been selected as the university’s next Vice President and Director of Athletics, effective July 1, 2022. Roybal succeeds Ken Bothof, who announced his retirement earlier this year. 

ADVISORY: NKU will introduce Roybal at a press conference on Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m. at Truist Arena. 

Roybal comes to NKU from the University of Northern Iowa, where she has served as senior associate athletic director for sports administration since 2016. She also holds the title of senior woman administrator and deputy Title IX coordinator. 

“We are at an exciting moment in our athletic department’s evolution, having achieved championship-level success, both on and off the field,” NKU President Ashish Vaidya said. “We are confident that Christina’s leadership and values will help elevate NKU Athletics and continue to build on the success we have experienced at the Division I level.”

Roybal will lead an athletics department with 17 programs competing in Division I. Norse teams have reached the NCAA Tournament five times since becoming eligible in 2016, including women’s soccer (2016), women’s volleyball (2019) and men’s basketball (2017, 2019 and 2020). Norse student-athletes also excel in the classroom, boasting 14-straight semesters with a cumulative, department-wide GPA of 3.20 or better and a current streak of eight-consecutive semesters of a GPA better than 3.37. 

“I am very excited and honored to serve as Northern Kentucky University's Vice President and Director of Athletics. I am grateful to President Dr. Ashish Vaidya, Vice President for Advancement Eric Gentry, and everyone involved with the search process,” Roybal said. “I believe NKU is a special place where student-athletes will excel academically, athletically and can build engaging and lasting relationships with the community. During this transformational time in college athletics and higher education this is a prime opportunity to build on the great work that has been done to this point and become a more prominent member within the region.”

In her role at Northern Iowa, Roybal serves as the primary administrator for 14 of the institution’s 17 sports, which includes being responsible for budget development, expenditure approvals, maintaining compliance within NCAA and Missouri Valley Conference regulations and standards, non-conference scheduling, and student-athlete conduct and welfare. 

Roybal serves on the Missouri Valley Conference’s Long-Range Planning Committee, Sports Management Committee, and the MVC Joint Committee sports liaison to the swimming and diving and tennis coaches. 

Prior to her tenure at UNI, Roybal served for 10 years at Fresno State, where she held a variety of roles including interim senior woman administrator and sport administrator for women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis and the creation of a women’s water polo program. Her service at Fresno State began as a group sales coordinator in 2005 before rising through the ranks to assistant athletic director for administrative operations in 2015. 

“On behalf of the Horizon League members, I am incredibly excited to welcome Christina to the league,” Horizon League Commissioner Julie Roe Lach said. “She brings terrific energy and expertise in advancing the holistic student-athlete experience while moving an athletics department forward. NKU is such a strong and vibrant athletics department and university positioned for continued excellence and impact.”

Roybal holds a Bachelor of Arts in health, physical education, and recreation degree from Saint Mary’s College of California (2003), as well as a pair of master’s degrees from California State University, Fresno in kinesiology (2006) and business administration (2013).

She is an active member of National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA), and Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).  She is a graduate of the Institute for Administrative Advancement and Leadership Enhancement Institute.

Roybal has two children: a son, Bailey who is on the South Dakota State wrestling team, and a daughter, Nicolette who is in the eighth grade. 

What They’re Saying about Christina Roybal: 

“Northern Kentucky University is extremely fortunate to have Christina leading their athletics department. In the six years that we have worked together she has done a phenomenal job with anything that I have ever asked her to do. She has a great work ethic, tremendous professionalism, impeccable integrity and an unquestioned level of care, compassion and commitment to our student-athletes. She has always been destined to lead an athletics department and I'm incredibly excited that the right opportunity has arrived for her. We will miss Christina in ways that words can't adequately express here at UNI, but we are all so proud of her accomplishments and the chance she is getting to be an athletics director. We wish her nothing but success in this next step of her journey.” – David Harris, Director of Athletics, University of Northern Iowa 

“Northern Kentucky’s athletics program will continue to flourish under Christina’s wise leadership. She will work tirelessly to ensure that every student-athlete is given the opportunity to excel in athletics and academics and benefit from those experiences for a lifetime.” – Patty Viverito, Commissioner, Missouri Valley Football Conference 

“Throughout her years within intercollegiate athletics, Christina Roybal has continually demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for leadership, creative vision and problem resolution. Most importantly, she has done so while maintaining a deep commitment to integrity and the welfare of the student-athletes in her charge. In short, Northern Kentucky University has selected the perfect person to guide the Norse athletics program through today’s rapidly evolving and particularly challenging NCAA Division I environment.” - Thomas Boeh, Deputy Athletics Director/Chief Operating Officer, Arkansas State University 

“Christina is perfectly positioned to lead Northern Kentucky Athletics to new heights of success on and off the field of play. She has the drive, poise and experience to make an immediate impact on the athletic department, the student-athlete experience, and the campus as a whole. We are thrilled to see Christina at the helm for NKU. They are destined for higher levels of greatness with Christina as their leader.” – Patti Phillips, CEO of Women Leaders in College Sports

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit