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New AD: I believe athletics exists to further the goals of the University

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Mary Ellen Gillespie

Mary Ellen Gillespie

Mary Ellen Gillespie, the associate athletics director for Bowling Green State University who was just named the new AD at UW-Green Bay, met the media Tuesday (Oct. 22), answering questions and outlining her philosophy of college athletics.

“Today is a dream come true,” she said in her opening remarks. “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity.”

Gillespie was introduced by Chancellor Tom Harden, who said the selection committee was impressed by her people skills, her record as a relationship builder and her capacity to engage new supporters and resources. Gillespie said she was attracted to UW-Green Bay in part by the school’s size and atmosphere — similar to her undergraduate alma mater, SUNY-Plattsburgh — and the philosophies shared by Harden and others that student success comes first, and that intercollegiate athletics can be a valuable element in promoting a university’s brand and its academic and service mission. The new AD answered a question about her short-range objectives by saying, “Looking, listening and learning. I don’t know what I don’t know.”

She thanked previous director Ken Bothof for building a solid department, adding, “Nothing is broken here.” Gillespie also expressed appreciation for those who have supported her career, and she shared a sizeable list of friends, family, mentors and colleagues in higher education and intercollegiate athletics.

Gillespie outlines four general priorities
In her statement at Tuesday’s news conference, new Phoenix AD Mary Ellen Gillespie outlined her four top priorities for the program. The No. 1 constant, she said, would be the success of student athletes in building life skills, achieving academic goals and graduating. Second, she said, would be maintaining the integrity of the program with respect to the University, the Horizon League and the NCAA. Third, she said UW-Green Bay Athletics should field competitive teams — “We want to win, and win the right way.” Finally, Gillespie said, the program needs to grow its resource base and maximize various revenue streams.

Photos: Gillespie meets the press
We have a slideshow up showing the scene at Tuesday morning’s news conference where Mary Ellen Gillespie was introduced to the local broadcast media as UW-Green Bay’s new athletics director. See photos.

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