Thursday, September 13, 2012

UCF Athletics’ Rebuilding Process Includes DeVos

Here at the University of Central Florida, the Athletic Department has had quite a year. After receiving NCAA mandated sanctions against its men’s football and basketball programs which resulted in 1-year postseason bans for the two sports (football is appealing), as well as the loss of its Athletic Director and wide receivers coach, it’s safe to say that the Department needed a jolt of new life. On a more positive note, the school was accepted into the Big East Conference, which will commence during the 2013 athletic year, and should increase the television revenue and nationwide exposure for the University.

Mr. Todd Stansbury was hired as the new Vice President and Athletic Director to direct and shape this new era for UCF Athletics, and is looking forward to the challenge. Mr. Stansbury comes from Oregon State University, where he held the role of Executive Associate Athletic Director. Now at UCF, he’s hoping to grow the Athletic Department through an infusion of talent, new ideas, and positive energy.

Mr. Stansbury was joined by Jessica Reo (Senior Associate AD for Student Services), Dave Hansen (Senior Associate AD, Internal Operations), Zack Lassiter (Senior Associate AD, External Operations), Chris Huff (Assistant AD, Golden Knights Club), and Mike O’Donnell (Director of Administrative Operations) during a panel session with the students in the DeVos Program. Mr. Stansbury, while describing his path to his current role, explained how his mission is and always has been to develop young leaders in the area of sport. Each member of the panel then described how they ended up at UCF, and why they are looking forward to a new era for UCF athletics. There was a clear commitment to using the students in the DeVos Program in the growth process.

Some of the other takeaways that the group took from the panel were:

  • Build a strong network
  • We’re building our brand daily, regardless of whether we know it or not
  • Be willing to step back or redirect to find growth in your career
  • We’re too young to be cynical, bring enthusiasm every day
  • Learn how to allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask for help
  • Athletics is not a job, it’s a lifestyle!

The commitment stated above has been strengthened due of the hard work of several current and former DeVos Students adding value to the organization, despite their hectic schedules. In the Class of 2013, there are five students involved with the Athletic Department through internships, graduate assistantships, or volunteer positions. Reggie Gossett serves as the Graduate Assistant to the Athletic Director’s office, Michelle Milkovich interns with the Development Office, Rahman Anjorin volunteers in the Compliance Office, Michael Farris is volunteering in the Marketing Department (Fan Development), and Staci O’Keefe has secured a position as the Operations Assistant for the football team. Each of these individuals has worked hard to add value to their department, which is consistent with former DeVos graduates. The recently departed Marcus Sedberry (now Director of Student-Athlete Development at the University of Arkansas) was key in starting the UCF Student Services department, and Class of 2012 graduate Cori Pinkett now serves as the Assistant Director of Student Services. All of these individuals have made the UCF Athletics staff confident in looking to the Class of 2014 and beyond in playing a key role in fulfilling the potential of UCF Athletics.

The panel got many individuals in the DeVos Program excited about the future, and current and future classes of the DeVos Program will assist in pushing UCF athletics to new heights.

DeVos Grads – Do you agree with the points above by the UCF Staff? Do you have anything to add?

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