Air Force Academy names Jen Block to newly created role atop athletic department

By BRENT BRIGGEMAN | The Gazette | Published: August 13, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Tribune News Service) — Air Force has tapped a familiar face for a new role atop the athletic department.

Jen Block, who retired from the Air Force as a colonel this April, will serve as executive director of athletics.

Block is an Air Force graduate who became the first female athletic director at a Division I service academy when she served in that capacity from April 2018 through February 2019 in an interim role.

This new role technically replaces the athletic director position and will serve as the senior government official in athletics. The athletic director now exists separate from the government-paid positions and falls under the umbrella of the Air Force Academy Athletic Corp. — a move that was made with the hiring of Nathan Pine to make the position more financially competitive and allow the AD to fund raise directly.

“We are very fortunate to welcome Jen back to the Air Force athletics team as Lt. Gen. Silveria’s selection for our executive director of athletics,” Pine said. “She had a distinguished military career, which included serving as an athletic administrator at both our prep school and athletic department. She is a great teammate and the relationships and respect she has earned at the academy, in the Mountain West Conference and nationally is invaluable. ”

Block’s military career included administering over 850 contracts valued at $1.5 billion. She was deployed to Uzbekistan immediately after Sept. 11, 2001 and helped build a bare base. She was later awarded a Bronze Star for her support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

She was academy volleyball team MVP in ‘91.

“As a product of college athletics, I’m a huge believer in the benefits and leadership lessons it provides all cadet-athletes,” Block said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work for Lt. Gen. Silveria and to work with our athletic director Nate Pine as we continue to contribute to developing leaders of character for our institution and the Air Force.”

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