Thoughtful Planning and Execution Breeding Success at WVU and Colorado

May 8th, 2017 | by Francis Giknis
Thoughtful Planning and Execution Breeding Success at WVU and Colorado
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success

All too often, news and stories deal with the negative and troubling; scandals, firings, tragedies are all frequent fodder in the college sports cycle. Only rarely are the outstanding day-to-day achievements of athletic departments mentioned as thousands of men and women help guide the lives of student-athletes in their care. This week, I’d like to highlight two success stories that come not as the result of a fluky recruiting class or lucrative television contract, but the hard work, planning, and execution of athletic department officials.

The first comes out of Morgantown, WV, where the Mountaineers have quietly built a winning baseball program from the brink of dropping the sport entirely. In a piece written for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Mike Casazza discusses then-AD Oliver Luck’s meeting and subsequent planning sessions to determine the future of WVU baseball. Highlights include Luck bringing-in outside voices to assist in the rebuild process and the eventual implementation of a multi-step plan to overhaul the program. Through assiduous attention to detail, the West Virginia athletic department staff checked-off the items that Luck’s cohort had deemed necessary to save a team that hadn’t been ranked in the top 25 since 1982.

The results at West Virginia have been significant, with the Mountaineers now a ranked team that will likely make its first NCAA regional tournament since 1996. The athletic department’s vision and execution over the course of years has yielded a program in Morgantown that is built for long-term success on the bedrock of hard work and thoughtful planning.


The University of Colorado athletic department also has something to brag about, as the fruits of its labor around gender equity at the school were recognized in the Boulder Daily Camera. In a moment of understatement, senior associate athletic director Ceal Barry stated, “There’s still more to do, but we’re not as glaring in our weaknesses.” Those weaknesses were so glaring that Colorado was non-compliant with Title IX regulations prior to the current AD Rick George’s arrival.

However, the five year plan set in motion in 2016 has made Colorado not just fully Title IX compliant, but an example of reversing course and righting an errant program. Lacking even basic facilities like showers and locker rooms for female student-athletes, Colorado had a lot to do to close the gap between the men’s and women’s programs. In addition to facilities upgrades, CU has added multiple women’s sports and improved travel accommodations and coaching salaries. Still on the list are lights for the soccer field and overhauling the volleyball locker rooms, but at the moment, Colorado has come a long way.

Sports media is inundated with negativity and failings, both personal and systemic, so it is important to take a moment to remember the thousands of hours being spent on great work at colleges and universities around the country. Success stories like those at West Virginia and Colorado aren’t flashy in today’s highlight-reel, soundbite-reliant culture. However, they’re examples of how true progress is made on a campus—with excellent planning, clear vision, and hard work.

About Contributor Francis Giknis
Francis Giknis joins College AD as a contributor after seven years of teaching and coaching throughout the east coast. Prior to writing for College AD, Francis earned an English degree from the College of William and Mary and his masters at Columbia University. Raised in a cable television-free household, he remembers binge-watching ESPN while on vacations away from home, much to the chagrin of his parents.

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