PHOENIX, Ariz. --- Head men's basketball coach Jeff Rutter has been promoted to become the new Director of Athletics at Arizona Christian University, ACU President Len Munsil announced Friday.

"Coach Rutter's spiritual maturity, extensive experience in athletic administration, belief in the ACU vision and commitment to excellence make him an obvious choice to take Arizona Christian University athletics to the next level," said Munsil. "As we start a football program and continue to build an excellent athletic program, we are thrilled he has agreed to take on these additional duties."

"I'd like to thank President Munsil and the administration for their confidence in me," Rutter said. "Our athletic department is an extension of the university and its mission. We play a key role in the growth and development of ACU and I'm humbled and excited to be a part of it."

Rutter has an extensive background in athletics, with incredible success as a coach and administrator at Azusa Pacific University and California Baptist University before arriving at Arizona Christian in 2012.

At Azusa Pacific, Rutter was Director of Athletic Development and assistant to NAIA Hall of Fame Head Coach and Athletic Director Bill Odell while APU won the NAIA Directors Cup for eight consecutive years (2004-2012) – an award given to the nation's best athletics program at each level.

As the assistant coach, Rutter helped APU to five GSAC championships and nine straight NAIA national tourney appearances including two national title games.

"I learned a lot about running an athletic department during my time at APU," Rutter said. "You won't find better role models than Bill Odell and [current APU Athletic Director] Gary Pine. They modeled excellence, character, and integrity while leading APU athletics to unprecedented national success. They did this while maintaining balance in their lives and excelled as husbands and fathers."

In two years at Arizona Christian, he is 34-11, taking ACU last season to its first national NAIA tournament appearance ever. This year's team is 14-1 and ranked No. 8 in the country, and boasts an exhibition victory on the road against NCAA Div. 1 Northern Arizona University.

Rutter replaces Don Mitchell, who left at the end of December to pursue other opportunities after nearly three years at ACU.

"We are grateful for the work Don Mitchell did in building our program," Munsil said. "Don did everything we asked him to do at ACU, from initially leading our buildings and grounds team, to supervising construction of our baseball field, to even taking over as baseball coach on short notice and leading the team into postseason while also overseeing the athletic program. We are grateful for his work and wish him the best."

"I'm blessed to have worked with Don Mitchell," Rutter said. "He accomplished a lot in his time at ACU. I really appreciate his friendship, loyalty, and tremendous work ethic. I hope to build on the foundation that he laid."

In his two seasons at California Baptist, Rutter was the chief recruiter and brought in two classes that produced Cal Baptist's best back-to-back seasons in 25 years. After his time at CBU, Rutter joined the Azusa Pacific coaching staff and also served as Director of the Cougars Athletics Association, the fund-raising arm of the athletics program. In 10 years at APU, he recruited 13 NAIA All-Americans and 17 GSAC All-Conference players.

Rutter developed and directed Azusa Pacific's six high school summer shootouts which grew from 25 to 210 teams in just nine years. He also directed the Hoop Review Junior College Showcase, the nation's largest summer junior college team event.

Rutter and his wife Kristen Rutter, an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at ACU, are the parents of two young daughters.