BORDEN, Ind. — Mike Bobinski said Thursday night the addition of a second-in-command in the athletic department is “imminent.”
After identifying candidates for a potential deputy athletic director, three recently had on-campus interviews, and Bobinski is ready to take the next step.
“We’re closing in on making an offer,” Bobinski said Thursday from a Boilermaker on the Road event in Borden, Ind., “conceivably even before the week is over, we might get that done. Hopefully.
“We feel good about all three really talented individuals who can all do the job. It’s just a matter of sorting out fit and sort of the best fit at this moment in time for us. It’s a good place to be in when you get to choose from really talented folks. A good thing.”
Bobinski said the new position’s primary day-to-day responsibility will be to manage and coordinator the department’s external functions. But it won’t be an “instead of” proposition, Bobinski said. The new hire won’t replace the current heads of those external departments, which he identified as communications, marketing, branding, identity, licensing and handling the Learfield and Nike relationships, among other things. But the current employees in those spots will report to the new position. Currently, Bobinski said, senior associate athletics director of communications Tom Schott and associate athletics director for ticketing and marketing Chris Peludat report to senior associate athletics director of business Barb Kapp in what Bobinski called a “non-traditional structure.” This move will change that.
“(It’s) an effort to make us as good as we can possibly be and get us to a point where what we’re doing from a communication and strategy perspective externally is leading edge. That’s where we want to be,” Bobinski said.
Bobinski admits there hasn’t been a clear vision and strategy in terms of marketing and branding in recent years, and he’s hoping this change could help solidify that.
“I think we’ve got lots of people in each of those areas who are well-intentioned and doing what they think is best, but there’s not a great sense of how does it all fit?” he said. “It’s sort of a lot of one-offs. So we want to create less one-offs and more things that look and feel like, hey, there’s a thought behind the overall approach. That’s the biggest idea.”
The deputy also will serve as the sport administrator for football and men’s basketball, though Bobinski will continue to be involved with those programs. But the new hire will have more of a day-to-day operational involvement with those programs.
That, in part, allows Bobinski to do what he did Thursday: Meet with a donor and then attend a fan event, which was held just north of Louisville, Ky., where many of the new football coach staff hails.
“When I’m at things like this, they’ll be the next in charge. They’ll have the authority to work across the entire organization,” Bobinski said. “While other senior staff folks like Barb, like Nancy (Cross), like Ed Howat, Calvin (Williams), they’ll continue to report to me, but this person will be able to work with all of them in their areas also.”
Potential alcohol sales in Ross-Ade Stadium
Bobinski said he is considering selling alcohol throughout Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturdays, not just only in the premium seating and south end zone areas. Conversations arose about the possible during the renegotiation of the school's concession contract, he said.
"The NCAA Championships used to have some very specific rules they controlled, but they don’t have rules that apply locally," he said. "When I was at Xavier, we sold alcohol throughout the entire basketball arena, as Louisville has done for years, football, basketball. As lots of people have.
"So it’s becoming certainly more prevalent that it’s ever been before, and I’d like to think our folks have handled the south end zone and the introduction there very, very responsibly with great results in every way. We do it at baseball. We do it at softball. We do it at soccer. We do it in all of our premium areas. So it’s not that drastic a step for us to take."
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