Cincinnati Bearcats Athletic News: Allen, Rehfeldt Earn Staff Promotions

By Lydia Jane Allison

August 15, 2023


CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati Athletics Department and Director of Athletics John Cunningham have announced that Chad Allen has been promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Career Advancement and Leadership, while Mike Rehfeldt has been elevated to Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Performance.

Allen assumes leadership of the Bearcats’ Student-Athlete Development Academy prioritizing student-athletes’ professional pursuits–in their sport, for graduate school or for employment.  Four primary pillars support the professionalism model for Bearcats—Career Exploration, Community Engagement, Leadership, and Personal Development.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to lead the Academy in serving our student-athlete community,” Allen said. “I am grateful to Dr. Joe Luckey and John Cunningham for entrusting me with the responsibility of cultivating a holistic developmental environment. This environment will undoubtedly elevate the student-athlete experience, fostering personal and professional growth.

“A year ago, I chose UC due to its well-established, professional culture. At UC, we take pride in confidently declaring, ‘Bearcats Go Pro,’ be it in the realm of professional sports, the workforce, or further education. I eagerly anticipate crafting innovative programs, events, and curricula.”

Allen’s day-to-day responsibilities include working directly with student-athletes to explore career opportunities and develop their professional brand. He started at Cincinnati in August 2022 and has played an integral role in the development and execution of The Academy, integrating student-athlete development programming with NIL education through UC’s IMPACT program. 

This summer, he joined Michael Thomas, Associate AD of Major and Principal Gifts/Senior Director of Development, as two of 35 selections to the NCAA’s Charles Whitcomb Institute, and six student-athletes at the NIL Summit in Atlanta.

“Since the moment he came to Clifton, Chad has been an asset to our department and the university as a whole,” Joe Luckey, Executive Senior Associate AD for Student-Athlete Support Services, said. “He relates to student-athletes and also empowers them to have the best possible experience. No one cares more about them off the field than Chad, and it shows in his work. We’re excited to announce his promotion and to have him lead The Academy.”

Allen previously worked at Morgan State for four years as its Director of Student-Athlete Development, and he has held football player personnel roles with Colorado State and West Virginia. He is a 2004 graduate of Morehouse College, where he played football.

Rehfeldt, now the Senior Associate AD for Sports Performance, is in his third year back at Cincinnati after previously serving as its Director of Men’s Basketball Sports Performance from 2012-20.

While Rehfeldt has earned much publicity for his development of the men’s basketball student-athletes, he has helped bolster Cincinnati’s sports performance department to new heights.

“Words cannot explain how happy I am to be a part of the University of Cincinnati Athletics Department,” Rehfeldt said. “I’m extremely excited to continue serving our student athletes and coaches through my leadership role.”

The staff has added several positions, including sport-specific coaches for women’s basketball and baseball, as well as having Assistant AD Stacie Skodinski manage the daily operations of Cincy Made Sports Performance.

Facility enhancements have been a centerpiece, too. Student-athletes have been treated to an enhanced nutrition station, cardio deck and recovery loft, as well as a new conference room for sports performance education known as the “Think Tank,” among several other amenities and technology.

Rehfeldt and his staff’s strategy features multiple components: professional training, attention and communication, servant leadership mindset, professional partnerships with each student-athlete, and purposeful, safe workouts.

“I am thankful that our administration supports me in this unique position as it grows within the department,” Rehfeldt said. “I would like to thank John Cunningham, Wes Miller, Brad Pike, Maggie McKinley, John Daniel and Anthony Di Fino for trusting our aligned vision for growth within our sports performance department. Additionally, I would like to thank Stacie Skodinski and the rest of our sports performance team as we all work tirelessly to innovate, educate, develop, and serve our student athletes every day. There is still a lot of work to be done and I’m thrilled to continue working in tandem with our skilled group of leaders to accomplish our goals as we move forward.”

Rehfeldt, a Minnesota native, earned his degree in physical education from St. Cloud State University in 2005 and previously worked for the Cincinnati Bengals.