WKU officially introduces Ross Bjork as its new AD

12 03 2010

As we reported on the blog Wednesday afternoon and in the Daily News on Thursday, WKU has found its new athletic director. 

Former UCLA senior associate athletic director for development and external relations Ross Bjork was officially announced by WKU President Gary Ransdell this morning at Houchens-Smith Stadium as WKU’s new athletic director.

Bjork will take over for Wood Selig – who announced that he’d be leaving WKU last month for the same position at Old Dominion later this spring. 

And now – a few quotes from the man who now has the keys to WKU’s entire athletic program.

“There are big shoes to fill, we acknowledge that, we embrace that and we like to compete in everything we do – this isn’t a fix-it job, not a lot of things are broken. Things need to be tweaked, but there aren’t a lot of broken things with this athletic program.”

“The championship effort model, I applaud that. That embraces the spirit and legacy of coach John Wooden. He never talked about winning, he talked about giving your best all the time.

“That’s what we’ll embrace here.”

“Gary called me the Saturday after Wood made his announcement. I looked at my phone and told (my wife), ‘President Ransdell’s calling, I think I should answer this.’

 “Often times athletics is the window to the university, right or wrong, that’s what happens. So it’s our job to withhold those principles. We will do things right and we will do the right thing. The great foundation of success that has been laid here has its challenges, we know that.”

 “We’re the best program in the Sun Belt and we will continue to operate with that mindset, we will continue to dominate. “I’ve told many people in my journey in college athletics that there’s no great fan support, per capita, than Western Kentucky University. The passion and the spirit for this program is really unmatched.”

 “We will provide a world class experience for our student-athletes, in athletics and academics. We want people to look at our program as a model athletic program.”

 “Our No. 1 job is really to educate and service our student-athletes. … We will also have some core values, we will always have academic integrity in how we operate, we will never sacrifice the academic integrity. We will have social responsibility, the logo never comes off.”

“We want to win, we want to be competitive in everything we do,”

“We’re going to have a sense of pride in everything we do, we’re going to look the part. Our staff expectations is that I believe everyone is an academic counselor, everyone’s a compliance officer and everyone can help us raise money in some way, shape or form.

“The presentation we make leads to people supporting us.”

 “We have to generate more resources in order to compete. We have to sell more tickets, we have to get more donors and we will be out there seeking those opportunities.”

A little background on Bjork:

– UCLA senior associate AD 2005-10

– Miami (Fla.) associate AD for external operations

– Missouri asst. director for development 2001-03

– Missouri athletic department officer 1997-2001

– WKU asst. development coordinator 1996-97

BA from Emporia State

MA from Western Illinois

– At UCLA, Bjork was in charge of various fund raising ventures: including capital fund raising, The John Wooden Athletic Fund, Bruin Varsity Club, major gifts, marketing, promotions, ticket sales, licensing, merchandising, corporate sponsorships, ISP Sports, radio rights, television rights and the UCLA athletic Web site. 

– In his first year on the job at UCLA, the Bruin athletic program saw its ‘total giving’ amount double. Bjork also saw season ticket sales for football and men’s basketball increase to record totals during his first season.

– In 2009-08, Bjork and his team raised a record $25.4 million in total gifts for UCLA athletics. 

Be sure to pick up a copy of Friday’s Daily News for more, as well as Saturday’s edition for more in depth detail.

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14 03 2010
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