In October 2017, Green Bay turned to Charles Guthrie to lead the Phoenix athletic department. In the year plus since Guthrie’s arrival in Wisconsin from the University of San Francisco, Guthrie has been hard at work. Guthrie oversaw the addition of upgrades to the Kress Center as well as the creation of the first ever consistent word mark for UWGB athletics. In a recent interview reflecting on his first year, the topic of football was brought up and the possibility of football becoming the newest Phoenix sport. CollegeAD had the opportunity to talk with Guthrie about the possible addition of football, accomplishments from his first year, plus what’s next for Green Bay athletics.
CollegeAD: You called conversations of adding a new sport (football or any other) as being in the very early stages with no formal plans…is there a timeline of when plans might become formal and what would cause things from to move from simple conversation to plans?
Charles Guthrie: That’s accurate, informal conversations continue both internal and external with key members of the community and donor base. We’ll assess the feedback we are getting at the beginning of the year and determine next steps at that point, and as we consider how planning would align with the larger UWGB planning cycles.
CollegeAD: Campus administration seems to be onboard with athletics helping drive university enrollment, have you had conversations with chancellor Miller about the addition of football?
Charles Guthrie: I believe it is quite common in today’s higher ed environment for athletics to have a seat at the table for most of the conversations tied to enrollment. At UWGB that is certainly the case as I am a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet. I’ve presented my short, mid and long-term plans for UWGB Athletics to the chancellor as well as his full team, and the addition of sports, not limited to, but including football, have been included in those discussions. There are a lot of overlapping, important common threads around key planning initiatives including enrollment, fundraising, facilities improvement, Title IX, competitive and academic success and overall student experience. It would be a mistake to have discussions around any one of these topics in a silo, it is critical to be aligned on how they interact and impact each area.
CollegeAD: If conversations about the addition of football became more than conversations, what would the next steps look like?
Charles Guthrie: We’ll closely align with the university planning process and we would begin work to identify a consultant to guide us through the formal process of adding a sport.
CollegeAD: You recently unveiled new branding and a new logo, what led you to initiate the change?
Charles Guthrie: We set out to create the first ever consistent word mark for UWGB athletics. I’m a firm believer in consistency — from internal processes, to the way we work with our vendors and throughout our external facing communication and platforms. Consistency tends to yield impactful results from cost savings to higher engagement with fans and the community. It speaks to a core set of expectations and values for the program. Consistency of brand is imperative to everything we do from uniforms and program spirit to ticket and apparel sales to social media and marketing. Rolling out a new word mark was central to my philosophy around the importance of consistency of brand on the overall success of UWGB athletics.
CollegeAD: What’s next for Green Bay athletics?
Charles Guthrie: At a high-level, to continue to build on the tradition of UWGB athletics, expand on what we’ve been able to build and accomplish as we go into what is my second year, and ultimately ensure we are delivering success in the classroom and competitively. I want to look at how we can raise the bar across all of our sports for every student-athlete, coach, parent, member of the campus and greater Green Bay community in all facets, whether it be suiting up, studying on campus or on the road, attending an event, engaging with us on social media, wearing UWGB gear, whatever experience a person may have with our program, I want to ensure it is a 100 percent positive interaction. Some specific areas of focus include ongoing facilities improvement such as our softball complex, doubling down on revenue generation and ensuring our coaches have the resources they need to improve our overall competitive success.