Not only does Winthrop Intelligence help ADs increase revenue and athletic programs to be more competitive, but the Win AD database also assists athletic staff throughout an administration to increase personal productivity and make better, more informed recommendations. We are interested in hearing from staff who use the database to their strategic advantage, for career advancement, and about innovative uses of the system that provides tangible, university-wide benefits.
Ryan Matthews, Winthrop’s Managing Editor, chatted recently with Matthew Pope – Senior Associate Athletics Director at UT Chattanooga – to see how Matthew is getting value from Win AD.
What advice would you give to a talented young admin that you wish someone had given you five years ago?
Because, I’ve been involved in intercollegiate athletics for 20 years now, I’ll list a few things for young administrators to contemplate going forward:
- You have to love what you do because intercollegiate athletics isn’t just a profession, it’s a lifestyle. So, be true to yourself and your core values; know this lifestyle can be wonderful, but it isn’t for everybody.
- Join your respective professional association(s) such as CABMA, CEFMA, COSIDA, NACMA, NAAC, N4A, NAADD, NACDA, ICLA, MOAA, and get involved in your association’s committees and governance structure. Be bold at conventions and professional meetings by introducing yourself to seasoned members of these associations who have professional experience and ask them for wise counsel.
- Get involved with your institution’s athletic conference. Seek appointment or request assignment to a sport or administrative committees if possible. This allows you to improve your professional skills, acquire additional information about both conference structure and other conference schools, while also expanding your network.
- Take full advantage of the professional relationships you have acquired and make a concerted effort to stay connected with them.
- It’s been said before, but request additional duties from your supervisor(s). They see your drive and effort and can assist you in increasing your scope of responsibility and ultimately your value as an employee.
- Enjoy yourself; being a part of intercollegiate athletics is great! Just think—we get to prepare young people, through education and guidance, to become productive and meaningful members of a global society.
How has Win AD broadly impacted your department?
Win AD has been a great tool for us in handling personnel issues, negotiating game guarantees, as well as analyzing our current apparel contract(s) so we can plan for future negotiations. It is hard to explain how difficult and time consuming getting data of this sort from other institutions used to be, all the while wondering if the data you had secured was complete and accurate. With Win AD, you know you’re looking at an apples-to-apples comparison.
Can you cite one specific instance where Win AD helped you increase revenue, save time, save money?
Well, not long ago, we finished searches for both men’s and women’s basketball coaches simultaneously; we hired Will Wade as our new Men’s Basketball coach and Jim Foster (just inducted into the Hall of Fame) as our new Women’s Basketball coach. All this was done exactly one week after our new AD, David Blackburn was hired. We moved very fast in his first few weeks and couldn’t have accomplished what we did without the data that Win AD provides. Being able to review existing coach’s contracts and at-will employment terms, as well as to review salary data was essential to successfully hiring these coaches. We were able to analyze what we could offer and how that related to other institutions within our conference, regionally and nationally. Our subscription to Win AD has paid for itself many times over.
What have been some tips or tricks that you’ve found for using (getting the most out of) the system?
Because Win AD is a comprehensive data resource system that is fairly straight-forward in its navigation, I can’t really speak to any tricks I’ve found in its use. I will say that it’s comforting to know that most of the institutions we’re negotiating game contracts with understand that this data is accessible, making negotiations less ambiguous. Being able to review institutional peer data has also proven important is positioning our department for change and future progress. While we haven’t yet requested anything be added to the board for needed information, having Kevin Barefoot available to assist us, if we have questions or concerns, is of great comfort.
If a peer were considering subscribing to Win AD, what would you tell him or her about your experience?
One of our department’s core values is “Continuous Improvement”; we strive to get better each day and look for more effective and efficient methods of operation. Win AD is a resource that allows us to continually improve through research and using best-practices. Win AD is a tool every athletics administrator should have in his/her toolbox.