Interviewing thought-leaders and experts in both higher education and intercollegiate athletics
Talking w/ Colgate Vice President & Athletic Director Dr. Nicki Moore
The interview with Dr. Moore begins by explaining being a successful athlete and SAAC president at Missouri helped convince her to work in intercollegiate athletics. Moore explains what the differences are between working at a big school like UNC or Oklahoma, versus a Colgate. She explains the history behind the recent campus identity change with the rebranded athletic logo and who was all included. The conversation turns to additional responsibilities where Dr. Moore is responsible for other areas outside of just intercollegiate athletics and how she manages her time. Dr. Moore ends the season 2 finale with some great advice for aspiring and fresh athletic administrators looking to learn..
A Conversation w/ UNC Chapel Hill Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham
UNC Chapel Hill athletic director Bubba Cunningham joined the Higher Ed Athletics podcast for an informative conversation. Cunningham starts the conversation talking about what he learned early in his career at Notre Dame as well as what his two previous AD jobs at Tulsa and Ball State taught him before leading North Carolina.
Bubba then talks about the relationship building between ADs in the UNC System. Smith asks tips for building a strong relationship with a president or chancellor and what skills will be necessary to lead athletic departments in the future. Bubba talks about what keeps him motivated and active with committee work and issues facing intercollegiate athletics. The sometimes disconnect between scholars and practitioners is then discussed. Bubba walks Smith through the behind-the-scenes governance involved in hiring their new basketball coach. He then closes with advice for aspiring athletic administrators trying to plan out their career.
Institutional Branding & Corporate Naming Rights w/ Milwaukee AD Amanda Braun
Milwaukee Athletic Director Amanda Braun joined the Higher Ed Athletics podcast for a discussion heavy on institutional branding and the future of corporate naming rights in college athletics. Braun and Smith discuss the upcoming challenges and opportunities for D1 institutions operating in cities. Braun closes the episode talking about a problem developing in D1 intercollegiate athletics that people aren't actually talking about right now.
Listen to the King: Conversation w/ RMU Vice President & Athletic Director Chris King
Chris King of Robert Morris University joined me on the Higher Ed Athletics podcast for a wide-ranging conversation on his career and philosophy in being a vice president and athletic director. We start by talking about the institutional profile challenges and opportunities of a small private D1 research institution like RMU. Next we speak about their latest rebrand and entry into the Horizon League. We then dive into what it's like being the VP/AD at his alma mater and discuss his relationship with RMU president, Dr. Chris Howard (previous guest of HEA podcast), and the vision President Howard had for King's position. King shares why being a compliance administrator is a great path to the AD chair with plenty of examples and ends the podcast with some great advice for hardworking and talented administrators in college athletics.
Check the full video interview on YouTube: https://youtu.be/thevTdk7dV0
The Bulldog Effect w/ Gonzaga Athletic Director Mike Roth
Mike Roth has been the athletic director at Gonzaga University for almost a quarter century. Roth joined the Higher Ed Athletics podcast to give the behind-the-scenes look at how investment in basketball saved an institution. In this episode I mostly just sat back, asked quick questions, and let Mr. Roth run with it. In a timely comment, he talks about turning the women's basketball program around, too, with equal resources and support. I ask if the formula Gonzaga used can still be done 25 years later and go on to talk about what steps need to be in place for a successful athletic department rebrand. Roth is very adamant that winning first is still the biggest ingredient.
Informative Talk with Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill
Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill is the latest guest to join Travis Smith on the Higher Ed Athletics podcast. Hill started the conversation profiling UNC-Charlotte and his thought process behind leaving Florida for the Charlotte AD job. The rest of the conversation dives into the importance of branding and relationships with administrators at the other universities in the UNC system. Below is a list of the questions:
Q: Can you tell us about UNC-Charlotte as an institution? Because I don't think many people understand how big the university is.
Q: After 25 years at the University of Florida you became the AD at UNC-Charlotte. At what point did you know that you wanted to pursue an AD opening because I’m always fascinated in career crossroad stories.
Q: You entered the job as your predecessor was retiring after three decades leading the department. How does a new AD in that situation best approach the staff and eventually implement the vision you have for the department when change might be difficult for some?
Q: Coming from Florida to Charlotte there’s a difference in staff resources and probably a smaller alumni donor base due to it being a younger institution. Do the same strategies in marketing, fundraising and revenue generation apply to a Group of 5 institution, or is there a different blueprint to being successful?
Q: UNC-Charlotte decided to brand athletics as Charlotte including adding a “CLT” logo mark. What was the strategy behind the decision?
Q: Can you walk me through the steps and considerations you all made in the rebranding process and what you learned as the new AD?
Q: Could you ever see a day in college athletics where a branch campus athletic department gets a better apparel contract or additional buying power in equipment purchases through being associated with the flagship campus athletic department?
Q: What are some other ways maybe a flagship and its branch athletic departments could share resources to help it thrive? Or maybe they shouldn’t crossover?