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 Steve Cottingham – Senior Associate Athletic Director at Colorado State – to see how Steve 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?
The best advice I would give them would be to expose themselves to as many different parts of the operation as they can. Learn as many different things about the overall scope of the business. Get exposure on the revenue side—whether it’s ticketing, marketing, fundraising—since that’s so important to what the leadership of an athletic department has to do. I think it’s important to have some of those experiences as you come up in your career.
How has Win AD broadly impacted your department?
It’s had a definite impact on our department. We certainly use it during coaching searches, but also just making sure we’re in the right spot in the market in terms of coaching salary and levels of compensation. We also used it for a lot financial modeling and planning. We looked at peer institutions and aspirational institutions, to assess what they’re doing and what we need to be doing.
Can you cite one specific instance where Win AD helped you increase revenue, save time, save money?
I can cite a couple. We certainly used it when we were looking at guarantee games; whether we were paying for the guarantee or receiving payment from the host site, so that we both knew that we were receiving market value. This is so important, both when we’re receiving the check, as well as for not overpaying a team that’s coming into our place. So both of those aspects have increased revenues and saved us expense. Additionally, it’s been useful in terms of looking at different sport budgets or coaching budgets. It’s been helpful to know that we get it right and don’t under do it, or over do it.
What have been some tips or tricks that you’ve found for using (getting the most out of) the system?
I think there are a lot of different ways to use it. The new benchmark feature can be very helpful—you can pick some lines and directly compare those on the screen. Previously I’d had to do that by offloading the data and building custom spreadsheets for myself to compare institutions or expense categories. I think it’s really helpful to see some of the conference data presented side by side in terms of compensation or budgets. I think those things are all very impactful for the planning and forecasting work I have to do.
If a peer were considering subscribing to Win AD, what would you tell him or her about your experience?
I think it’s a great value for a relatively modest subscription fee. I think it’s very easy to earn that back in terms of savings or increased revenue. I started here last fall and one of the first things I did was suggest that we subscribe to Win AD.