“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it;
If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward
For the last 20 years it has been with great pride that I have served as the Loyola Marymount University Lions Athletics Director. It is time for me to move on to another phase in life and for this Athletics Department to have new leadership. I plan to retire from my position on July 27, 2018. They say coaches forget their wins quickly, but the losses linger. The same is true for Athletics Directors. However, I prefer to focus on the accomplishments we achieved together over the course of these past 20 years rather than any disappointments.
When I first entered the gates of Loyola Marymount University as Athletics Director, I could only have imagined the transformation that was to occur with the University and Athletics program. We started by creating additional coaching positions while also converting part time head and assistant coaches to full time. We increased our sports medicine staff significantly and created both our Strength/Conditioning and Student Athlete Services Programs which were non-existent. There was a huge need and vision for facility growth and we made it a reality. It will continue into the future with the University campaign that is on the horizon.
These achievements and many others have allowed us to recruit high caliber athletes and coaches. This has permitted LMU Athletics to enhance its competitive profile, win championships and earn a Commissioner’s Cup. LMU has high academic standards and expectations. Recruiting and supporting student-athletes, who want and are capable of earning their degree, has always been a priority. Our success is apparent every year in the statistical information gathered and the recognition received. We have achieved all this with integrity. Yes, pride flows through all who have been at LMU during this period and contributed to this success.
I have worked with wonderful and exceptional people. At the top of this list are the student-athletes. As athletes, I have witnessed many competitions that included heroic come from behind victories to heart breaking losses. The overarching feeling I have watching the LMU Lions compete is pride. I know first-hand the hard work that goes into preparing for competition. As students, their time at LMU is focused on developing “intelligent hearts and compassionate minds” that would serve them well once they left the bluff. They have represented this institution so well during their time as athletes and students. The real measure of our successes cannot be seen for years and decades. It is in the quality of how they evolve as friends, spouses, parents, professionals and citizens after they have graduated from the University. There are thousands of student-athletes who we can point to with great pride who are not better because they went to college, but because they went to Loyola Marymount University.
I am humbled by the coaches, staff and administrators I have worked with. They are wonderful professionals, and even better people, who are dedicated to our student-athletes and the mission of the University. Their work is not a job, but rather a vocation. It is a way of life that is not bound by a Monday through Friday work week or an eight to five work day. At LMU, our staff lives the “magis” attitude and “cura personalis” mission. I have always enjoyed being in the company of the people in the Athletics world. But, I have loved and admired my colleagues and friends in the Lions Athletics Department.
The Athletics Department is a reflection of those at the University. LMU staff, faculty and administrators have been very supportive of our athletes and for that we all are thankful. Specifically, the support of the four Presidents I have worked under, all those who have been members of the Board of Trustees and Regents, the various Senior Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents as well as the colleagues within Student Affairs (especially the Management Team) has been unwavering. No one has stood taller in support of our student-athletes than Dr. Lane Bove. I have learned so much from her and I will always be grateful.
I am proud of the many fans, parents and supporters of LMU who value what a Lion Athletics experience means to our students. They always keep that experience in perspective. It is a circle of support for not only our student-athletes, but for all of us in Athletics. In particular, I want to thank the Athletics Director’s Council, a small group who care so much about our University and Athletics program. They are difference makers and we could not have accomplished all that we have without them. A much larger group and equally important are all those who contribute to the Lions Athletics Fund and to our various sports teams. You provide a margin for excellence that is so necessary. Again, thank you.
The West Coast Conference is indeed unique, and becoming even more so. The member institutions value the role Athletics plays for and within the institution. The intrinsic and core reasons for having intercollegiate athletics remain strong and primary. Yet, the growing financial challenges are tempting institutions to move away from those core values. I have come to treasure the friendships and relationships formed with fellow Athletics Directors, Senior Women’s Administrators, Faculty Athletics Representatives and the Commissioners and Staffs of the WCC. They are a special group and the world of collegiate athletics is fortunate this conference exists.
Finally, I want to thank my family. Tish, my wife of 46 years, has been unwavering in her support. It is not easy to stay positive and happy (she is the most positive and happy person I know) when being married to an Athletics Director. The time away, difficult actions that need to be taken, the criticism and praise that comes along can take a toll. She has allowed me to do this job while also giving me love, perspective and balance. This extends to my sons Greg, Todd and Jon; their wives Jenny, Katie and Shoshanna; and my grandchildren Liam, Taylor, Henry, Lucy, Julia, Harper and Ember. What joy they have brought to my life.
Twenty years ago I walked onto the LMU campus for a luncheon meeting prior to interviewing for the Athletics Director’s position. When I returned home I said to Tish, “I can’t explain this, but I feel like I belong there.” A few weeks later it was a gray, wet Easter Sunday and we both took a trip to the campus. It was beautiful with the flowers in bloom and clean buildings and grounds. The few people we saw and spoke with seemed to be enveloped in an aura of happiness and contentment. Returning to the car that was parked in Hannon Field I asked Tish, “What do you think?” She replied, “I think you belong here.” I know for a fact that this experience is not unique. It is shared by most who have been associated with this institution. LMU’s special goodness is palpable.
Let me end, by borrowing from Lou Gehrig when he said, “Today (and for the rest of my life), I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”
May God bless all of you and Loyola Marymount University.
LMU Athletics Director