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FGCU AD SEARCH: IUPUI's Moore Brings Hefty Experience in Transitioning to Division I
ESTERO — Mike Moore, who led Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis through its transition to Division I, was the third to be interviewed for Florida Gulf Coast University’s athletics director opening.
Thursday afternoon, Moore, who has been IUPUI’s athletics director since 1996, said there are differences in the transition of FGCU, which is currently in its second of four provisional years, and that taken by his current program, which began its move in 1998.
FGCU, which has fielded basketball, softball, volleyball, baseball and cross country programs for seven seasons and just two in soccer and swimming, already has top-notch facilities in place. It has the ability to ability to recruit nationwide and overseas and already has produced four conference championship programs in baseball, softball, volleyball and swimming.
But the big thing is location. It’s not too difficult to recruit to FGCU, Moore said. And the surroundings are a big reason Moore is interested in the job.
“Have you lived here too long to understand why people would love to come and work at Florida Gulf Coast?” said Moore, grinning. “If this was at Boise, we probably wouldn’t be having these same conversations.”
Potential is another reason Moore is intrigued.
“I truly believe Florida Gulf Coast’s programs can compete on the regional and national levels,” Moore told the 10-person athletic director search committee. “My intention is for us to be regionally successful and nationally ranked.”
“Continuity” among coaches and staff is vital, Moore said. And for him, it’s all about conference competition. That’s what he evaluates his coaches on. He encourages them to tackle the “toughest non-conference schedules” they can book in order to prep for conference play.
Like FGCU, IUPUI fields 14 programs. And the 50-year-old’s leadership style sounds a lot like that of former FGCU athletic director Carl McAloose.
Moore said his guiding principles are honesty, openness and being positive. And letting coaches and administrators do their jobs without “micro-managing.”
“You hire good people, let them take ownership, and get the heck out of the way,” said Moore, echoing the sentiments of McAloose during his eight-year tenure.
Said FGCU men’s basketball coach Dave Balza, who is on the committee, when it was noted the leadership styles of Moore and McAloose are quite similar: “I would agree with that, kind of comes from that same mold.”
When discussing academics, Moore related how he was able to add 17 to his “academic support staff” by signing up IUPUI’s different school deans for the responsibilities. He initiated six hours of summer school for both basketball teams, beginning prior to the first semester in order to keep the players on track to graduate in four years and to offset the busy seasons. He leads a two-day orientation for freshmen student-athletes and will not grant a release for those who fail to maintain a 2.6 GPA.
He talked about the importance of selling students on the programs and recruiting them to attend games and meets.
“That’s got to be on your to-do list every day,” Moore said.
There is in no hurry to add more sports “because I will not add any programs without doing it the right way,” said Moore, referencing the need to have coaches, staff, facilities and scholarships in place before digging deeper. “There’s enough work to be done over the next 5-7 years to get to that point.”
He really stiff-armed the notion of adding football.
“I never say never,” Moore said. “I would love to add football at Florida Gulf Coast, but it isn’t even on my radar. When they ask me about adding football at IUPUI, I tell them I’d be more than happy to come back and attend a game.”
On fundraising, Moore said “everybody’s a fundraiser in the department.” He leads when necessary, but doesn’t mind deferring. Moore also said it’s vital to work with the university’s developmental office and foundation. “I truly believe a dollar given to the university is a dollar that helps everybody,” he said.
But the committee kept going back to IUPUI’s transition to Division I. That was the biggie in Balza’s mind.
“The big thing about Mike is he’s been there, done that,” Balza said. “He’s made this transition, they’re 10 years in. That’s his baby there and he’s finally ready to hand it off to somebody else and take over our baby if you will.
“Can’t beat that experience.”
Current position: Athletic director, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); since 1996
Athletic employment: Director of athletic development, IUPUI (1996); senior associate director of athletics and development, University of Evansville (1988-1996); assistant athletic director, University of Evansville (1983-1988); assistant director, Wildcat Club, Davidson College (1981-1983)
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Ohio University (1978); Master’s degree in sports administration, Ohio University (1980)
FGCU AD SEARCH: IUPUI’s Moore brings hefty experience in transitioning to Division I
By Dana Caldwell, The Naples Daily News (FL)