MARSHALL (KMHL) – Southwest Minnesota State University Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski announced that he has resigned from SMSU. According to a press release from SMSU, Hmielewski’s resignation is effective June 4 and he is pursuing a new professional opportunity in the private sector.

Hmielewski is completing his 15th year in the position, he was named the Director of Athletics in August 2006. Hmielewski has spent the last 25 years at SMSU, prior to his time as the athletics director he also worked in enrollment and served as an assistant coach on the SMSU baseball team.

“I want to extend my sincere gratitude to all the faculty, staff members, students and administrators I have had the privilege to work with and for in my time at SMSU,” said Hmielewski.

During his tenure, Hmielewski helped oversee the construction of several major projects including the Schwan Regional Event Center, a new softball field, a renovation of the baseball field and the Marshall Regional Track and Field Complex. The university says he was instrumental in increasing fundraising for the department, helping add new scholarships for SMSU student-athletes.

“I would also like to say thank you to the community of Marshall and the surrounding communities for their continuous support of SMSU Athletics and our student-athletes,” Hmielewski said. “The support we have received has positively impacted the comprehensive success of Mustang Athletics.”

SMSU has also seen increased success on the field of play under Hmielewski’s leadership. Mustang teams have competed in 25 NCAA Tournaments, and hosted four NCAA regional tournaments. In 2014 The SMSU volleyball team finished as the NCAA national runners-up, while the men’s basketball team won the 2009 NCAA Central Region Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.

“I have been blessed to work with many talented coaches, staff members and administrators as together we have grown the SMSU Department of Athletics over the last 15 years,” he added. “It has been a privilege to lead such an amazing team who challenged me every day to enhance and grow their programs and departments all with the focus of improving the student-athlete experience at SMSU. I will always be proud to be a Mustang.”

SMSU President Kumara Jayasuriya intends to appoint an interim athletic director until a permanent replacement is hired.