Tag Archives: Wood Selig

Selig comments on final days at Western

The transitional phase of Western’s Director of Athletics position will come to an end Wednesday when Dr. Wood Selig officially passes the torch to new AD Ross Bjork.

The Herald had the chance to speak with Selig Monday morning for likely the last time during his nearly 11-year administration, after which Selig will head to Old Dominion University to begin the same position.

He said that both transitions – Bjork’s migration to Western and his own to Old Dominion – have been comfortable moves, especially because he’s leaving on good terms.

“It’s unique within our industry that you’re able to work side by side during a transition with the individual whom you’re replacing,” Selig said. “But I think it’s also extremely beneficial.”

Selig said that he’s been impressed with how quickly Bjork is acclimatizing himself to the new position, giving him his full endorsement.

“He has an incredible drive to succeed,” Selig said. “He’s extremely intelligent, he’s been a very quick study. I think all those factors are going to serve him well, and I think he will be a fantastic athletic director for many decades.

“He’s just going to be outstanding for our profession. I don’t think the selection committee could have done a better job with their selection of Ross.”

Western athletics flourished in Selig’s 10-plus years at the helm, including 70 conference championships, a Division-II national football championship in 2002 and $100 million in renovations to campus athletic facilities.

Selig said that it would be unrealistic to think that he could leave Western after over a decade and not maintain a vested interest in its future.

But he also said that he didn’t think his attachment to Western will be any stronger than it will be in his first several years at ODU because his close relationships on the Hill will still be intact.

“Now, I know all of the head coaches, almost all of our student-athletes and the athletic administration,” Selig said. “Naturally, as turnover begins to take shape and the natural evolution of the department happens, there will be some distance come into play. But I’ll still always have a high affinity for WKU.”

Selig admitted that it will be disappointing to not see the football program’s jump to the FBS level reach the level of success that both he and President Gary Ransdell first envisioned.

He said it was mostly disheartening because he knows it’s “a matter of time” before the football program breaks through and is competitive in the Sun Belt.

“We generally don’t field or fund an athletic program without designs for it to be a championship-caliber program,” Selig said. “Football is no different. There’s a long-standing history of success in football here at WKU, and it’s just a matter of time before we get it back on that winning track.”

Selig will officially become Old Dominion’s new athletic director on June 30 when longtime AD Jim Jarrett retires after a 40-year career.

Selig will get the chance to work closely with Jarrett for a short time, just as he’s doing at Western now with Bjork.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered for his time at Western, Selig paused for a moment, then said that he hoped he had lived up to the expectations of everyone in Western’s athletic department and the fans.

“I would hope I was very approachable, easy to work with, an advocate for student-athletes and coaches,” he said. “I hope I’m remembered for high aspirations, high academic achievement, and never wanting to settle. Hopefully, they saw me as a hard worker with good balance and perspective.”

-Zach Greenwell

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SELIG: WKU not in talks with MAC

Athletics Director Wood Selig told the Herald on Monday that Western is not in talks with the Mid-American Conference about a transition from the Sun Belt Conference.

Selig’s confirmation came after a recent ESPN Insider report said that Temple and Western could soon become the MAC’s 13th and 14th members. The Spectrum, the University of Buffalo’s student paper, published a report on Sunday suggesting MAC expansion could happen but is just hearsay at this point.

The Spectrum spoke with Ken Mather, assistant commissioner of media and public relations for the MAC:

“The topic of expansion is one that the conference and its member institutions and affiliate members will continue to discuss internally. Any other comment on expansion, number of sports, divisional alignment, etc. would be pure speculation at this point.”

The Spectrum said officials from Western and Temple did not return calls, but Selig told the Herald that he had spoken to a reporter from “a Buffalo newspaper.”

“It was the first I had heard of that,” Selig said.

Jonathan Lintner

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Bjork will earn $185,000 base salary

Chief of staff and general counsel Deborah Wilkins told the Herald Friday that newly introduced Athletics Director Ross Bjork will earn a base salary of $185,000.

Wilkins said Bjork’s contract will be up for approval at the Board of Regents meeting this April, and that the end product should turn out to look much like Wood Selig’s current contract.

After getting a $34,000 raise in January, Selig’s base salary jumped from $141,000 to $175,000.

Jonathan Lintner

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Was Selig to ODU in the making longer than we thought?

Kudos to Zach Greenwell for finding this nugget from the Virginian-Pilot after Western Athletic Director Wood Selig was introduced as Old Dominion’s next Athletic Director on Friday.

One even said Selig had been inquiring about the position for a while.

“I ran into Wood in New York last summer, and he told me then he was interested,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. “Personally, I always thought it would be a coup for ODU if they could get Wood.”

Selig told the media in Bowling Green that he’d been contacted over the holidays and the ball really got rolling the last couple weeks of January.

It’s interesting that Selig may have been looking to find a new gig nearly a year ago.

-Andrew Robinson

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REPORT: Selig to get substantial raise at ODU

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., is reporting that Western Athletics Director Wood Selig will receive a three-year contract with an annual salary of $250,000 for the AD position at Old Dominion, starting on June 10.

The Hilltopper Athletic Foundation approved a $34,000 raise on Jan. 29 to Selig’s base salary of $141,480, meaning that he will make nearly $80,000 more at ODU if the contract is finalized.

-Zach Greenwell

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Selig confirms acceptance of Old Dominion position

Athletics Director Wood Selig told the Herald in an e-mail Thursday night that he will be accepting the same position at Old Dominion after resigning from Western.

The Old Dominion job will officially open in June, when longtime AD Jim Jarrett is set to retire.

Selig is expected to meet with media tomorrow to discuss his resignation. For more on the Selig situation, check out Friday’s Herald and online at wkuherald.com for live coverage of tomorrow’s press conference.

-Zach Greenwell

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WKU/UK football series inked

So the deal is done. WKU and Kentucky are officially bedmates for the next four seasons, starting in 2010. After looking at it, I’m not totally convinced this is the best thing for WKU. Look at the facts:

  • The Toppers’ “home games” will be played at L.P. Field in Nashville, this giving 30% of the profit to Music City Bowl, Inc. who rents out the field to the series, so money for a game between two Kentucky teams stays in Tennessee. That’s not a great move in this recession. The remaining profit will be split 60% WKU and 40% UK. Not bad, this could be a bigger payday if they played the home games at Smith Stadium. I can’t see how UK wasn’t for games at WKU, when they would probably see as much blue as red in the stadium. Sure, the seating is less than desired, but why not pack a 23,500-seat stadium with at least half your fanbase, rather than fill half a 68,000-seat stadium with it?
  • UK is giving WKU a $500,000 payday for coming up to Lexington for each game. That’s less than most mid-major schools get for coming to a big-conference program, with an average that pushes the $1 million mark. This could be a sign of one of two things: Either WKU Athletics Director Wood Selig is trying to show that the Toppers aren’t looking for just a money game, or they were so desperate to get a game with the states biggest school and establish a new “rivalry” that they took a little off the top to get it.
  • Last season’s game finished 41-3 and could’ve been worse had UK coach Rich Brooks not called off the dogs in the third. A lot of Western’s players are gone (including quarterback K.J. Black, who turned out to take his final snaps in a WKU uniform in that game), and the Toppers will be playing a number of redshirt freshmen and little-used players with a smattering of veterans, who will be a year older next season when it all starts. Timing-wise, this series might benefit WKU by starting in 2010, though UK will reload as well, so time is the only barometer at this point and it’s too early to call.
  • Going back to the issue of the money (and where it might be spent): shortly after the inking of the series, Selig told the Bowling Green Daily News that the new side of the recently-renovated Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium is ready for the addition of new seats if the opportunity arises.  The school is about to become $500,000 richer, and that money would be a great start to helping the stadium get bigger and better. The neglect of the old side of the stadium has raised some eyebrows in the community and the media, but we’ll have more on that later in the season.

Either way you look at it, this deal seems to have as many cons as pros. And Selig, the same man who told me he hopes to have Notre Dame ( yes, THAT Notre Dame) as one of WKU’s rivals in the future, has lived on both sides of the fence when it comes to matters of whether he believes the program is taking baby steps, or should skip right to locking horns with the big boys with the true intent to contend.

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