Final interview with Wood Selig

28 04 2010

I spoke with outgoing Western Kentucky athletic director Wood Selig for what will likely be the final time in a formal interview format. 

Selig’s final day at WKU will be on May 5, at which point he will depart for Old Dominion before taking over the AD position there. 

I discussed several things one last time with Selig, all of which you will be able to read in Sunday’s Daily News.

But here are a few highlights (because I know you like sneak peeks). 

– What have his emotions been like over his final WKU days:

“It’s different, because everything now is ‘the last time.’ Whether it’s with the president’s administrative counsel or whether it’s the final full staff meeting (on Thursday) at 8 a.m. This could be the last time I walk down the Hill from the president’s office to Diddle Arena. It’s like that song ‘Live Like You Were Dying,’ this really has given me a chance to live my last days here at WKU and I’ve had a chance to say thank you and farewell to so many people – in this business it seems like you’re in and out so quickly, you really don’t get to have that proper closure.”

— Out of everything he’s accomplished in his 10+ years at WKU, what was one thing he’s most proud of:

“I don’t know if there’s just one that separates itself, but the feeling that one feeling I will take from the last 10 1/2 years has been the overall communication with our student-athletes and our coaches (to me) with feedback that after every single year, they’re in a better situation than they were the year before. Whether it’s a facility improvement, an academic support facility, budget expansion, apparel deals that benefit teams that didn’t have much the years before, it seems like every year we’ve been able to make nice strides that have benefited all our student-athletes and our coaches – and they’ve recognized it, valued it and communicated that appreciation. And to me, that’s the biggest thing I take away – every year, things have gotten better and better for our participants internally.”

– What’s one thing, looking back, he would have handled differently:

“Hindsight is 20-20, and you just never know sometimes. The magnitude of transitioning football from 1-AA to 1-A, even though we researched it in depth, I called probably 15 schools who in the last 20 years had made that move, picked their brains, got their missteps as well as their fortunes with their plans – and even then, you can’t put a perfect plan together. Things change, times change. Probably knowing that the day and era in which we live is one of immediate gratification, you’ve got to have the reward and the positive feedback and people aren’t interested in a long process but want to win now, knowing that – I probably would have approached football with a little more urgency in saying ‘we’re probably going to have to recruit transfers, we’re going to probably have to get junior college kids, we aren’t going to be able to go at it like an established program in the ACC or SEC and say that we’re going to go after high school players, redshirt them and go after it with fifth-year seniors.

“In time, we will be able to do that here. But looking back, we probably should have had more urgency to get out on the field with a more competitive product right away and not saying ‘let’s all be patient and go ahead and go through that five-year process with high school seniors.’ I probably would have felt a little bit more urgency to model the program with upperclassmen at the 1-A level.”

– Like I mentioned before, the full interview between myself and Selig will be in Sunday’s Daily News, so keep an eye out for that.

– And in closing, a few bullet points of Selig’s accomplishments as an AD at WKU over the past 10 1/2 years

• $100 million in renovations or new athletic facilities (including E.A. Diddle Arena and Houchens-Smith Stadium

• 85 percent of student-athletes who completed their eligibility went on to graduate

• 70 Sun Belt Conference championships since 2000, 30 more than the next closest school in the league

• 19 conference titles since 2007-09, more than any other school in the nation

• A 1-AA National Championship in football in 2002, WKU’s only team national title in any sport ever

• Four Vic Bubas Cup titles in the past eight seasons

• A 3.0 average GPA for all 438 WKU student-athletes

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