Troy Dannen Article posted on June 30, 2013

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.

Troy DannenTroy DannenUniversity of Northern Iowa
Director of Athletics

Ryan Matthews, Winthrop’s Managing Editor, chatted recently with Troy Dannen – Director of Athletics at the University of Northern Iowa – to see how Troy 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?

I’ve seen a number of good administrators who put off tough decisions, or temper the decisions they do make, because they are worried about harming a personal relationship—or worse—are worried about the next step in their career. Treat each student-athlete like they are your own child. Spend each dollar like it comes from your own bank account. Work with each coach and staff member as a partner. Take full ownership in what you do and where you do it, and vest yourself personally in every outcome.

The best advice I was given when I accepted this job was make every decision as if you would have to justify it the next morning in the newspaper. That theory forces analysis of all aspects of a decision, eliminates personal biases and serves as a reminder that we are accountable for each and every decision we make each and every day.

How has Win AD broadly impacted your department?

Win AD has taken the guesswork out of many decision making processes. We don’t wonder what the salary marketplace is when attempting to retain coaches. We know it. We don’t wonder what to expect from outside vendors. We know it. We don’t wonder whether a guarantee is reasonable. We know it. We have the ability to do almost any objective analysis in a matter of minutes, versus spending days gathering information.

Can you cite one specific instance where Win AD helped you increase revenue, save time, save money?

I have sat down with coaches during the contract renewal process and reviewed peer salaries (which had at times been misrepresented by their peer coaches) to show our competitiveness in the marketplace. It has helped us retain quality coaches. The key asset of Win AD for me personally has been the ability to manage our risk management by reviewing language of contracts: from coach contracts, to guarantees, to vendors. We have capitalized on the experiences of other institutions to ensure we minimize risk and maximize opportunity.

What have been some tips or tricks that you’ve found for using (getting the most out of) the system?

I’m not sure I get the most out of the system yet. Each time I’m on Win AD I discover a new way to assess numbers and data. Just spending spare minutes moving around the system and looking at data is a more valuable use of time than reading many of the magazines and articles that come across my desk.

If a peer were considering subscribing to Win AD, what would you tell him or her about your experience?

In an era of tight finances for most Division I schools, we must consciously invest new money in areas which either:

  • assist the student-athlete toward graduation, or
  • have the ability to generate additional resources.

Our Win AD investment in 2012-13 yield a positive net return. Not only am I better prepared to be successful in my job, but the data generated positive net income when considered against the expense of the subscription. My criteria for subscribing has been met.