According to a statement sent out Monday afternoon by Tyson Mathews, assistant director of Ball State Athletic Communications, Dr. John Reno has died.

Reno served Ball State for more than 40 years and was a key figure during the Cardinals' move to Division I and the Mid-American Conference in the 1970s.

From 1970-81, Reno acted as the chairman of the School of Physical Education and Athletics and oversaw the administration of Athletic Director Ray Louthen. 

Ball State's athletic department saw early success at its new level, winning MAC football championships in 1976 and 1978 and a men's basketball title in 1981. The Cardinals also won conference championships in men's golf and cross country during Reno's tenure.

Ball State Men's Tennis head coach Bill Richards, who was hired by Reno and Louthen in 1972, said in the statement Reno was "one of the most influential people in the history of Ball State Athletics."

“I don’t think the current generation can really grasp what he meant to Ball State University and specifically to Ball State Athletics," Richards said. "He was an incredible professional and a great leader. You only get the privilege of working for someone like that on a rare occasion in your career.”

Reno served as Ball State’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the MAC and NCAA from 1988 until his retirement. He received the Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 1990 and 2001 and was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.