Dear Search Committee member,
Allow me to introduce myself, I am the Lazy Blue Demon of DePaul. I am what is known as a Double-Demon for the insanity of going back to get a 2nd degree from the same place.
My first day on campus as a student was in September of 1993. My first memory of the DePaul Blue Demons came via WGN, which I was able to watch in my hometown in Southwestern Missouri.
One of the first things I did, once I stepped foot on campus, was walk over to the DePaul Athletic Department and bought season tickets for the 1993-94 season. My exuberance paid off in that I had front row seats in the student section. I did not miss a game, other than the games played between Thanksgiving and the New Year, due to me going home for Winter Break.
Your search committee has allowed for DePaul Blue Demons fans to reach out to you to let us know about our dream candidate. Lucky for you, I have a few opinions on the matter.
You are on a quest to fill the most challenging vacancy in all of College Sports. A ‘sleeping giant’ that has an ever increasing alumni base, that barely knows that it has a men’s basketball team. In order to completely transform the DePaul Athletics, a dramatic change to the department’s culture is needed.
Someone from the Outside
DePaul cannot be tainted by a holdover. Those that have worked within the current Athletic Department have not seen a well run department in their careers. Due to this, these employees will have clear blind spots due to no fault of their own. If the mantra of a place is, “This is the way we have always done it”, you need a complete change. I know that many people have come out of the DePaul Athletic Department and have done well elsewhere, but now is the time to look outside of the sphere of influence of the former AD. DePaul Athletics has a history of first families like the Meyers and Lentis, which has lead to calls of nepotism. The candidate must be a merit based hire, not a connections hire.
Person from a school that has demonstrated success in hiring first time head coaches
It takes true skill to identify individuals with the traits necessary to successfully setup their own program. Someone who can read through the smooth talking and malarkey. This person could have contributed to a great hire. Ideally, the candidate could explain in detail the method they use to evaluate coaches and support staff. If their main method is through use of a search firm, mark them as do not hire immediately.
Person who understands Student Engagement
If you look up at the Demon Deck of Wintrust Arena, you will see mostly blue seats. The lack of students coming to games has been a problem for multiple generations, especially the lost generation of 2005-2020. The new AD needs to be able to inspire those on campus to travel to the Wintrust and to reach out to the commuter community to begin building a bond with these students for life. For better or for worst, most people outside of Chicago learn about DePaul University due to its sports teams and especially it Men’s Basketball team.
Person who understands Alumni Engagement
The Alumni network at DePaul has supported itself without the help of something to rally behind. The new AD will need to find a way to reengage this pool of former students. Only two years ago Loyola went to the Final Four, and Alumni Engagement and donations went through the roof. This is not a coincidence. Donations to the Athletic Department went up over 600% post the run. Villanova saw a 21% increase in Student applications after their 2nd national championship. Winning leads to bigger pools of applicants, which leads to better students, which leads to stronger alumni ties, which leads to more alumni contributions.
More Alumni and current students at games leads to a better environment, which leads to more inspired play and better recruits.
Social Media Guru
The Twitter account for DePaul Men’s Basketball is not verified. This should give you a glimpse of the current ineptitude. Well run social media accounts lead to more engagement with the University, its Alumni, its Students, and in Chicago, the local fan. Today’s DePaul Twitter is mostly a bitter, angry crew, who want nothing but the slightest, tiniest, taste of success.
Excellent Media Presence
It would be nice to have a strong communicator who does not make the Alumni community cringe at every other sentence. One that can address issues with the Athletic Department, and make the alumni proud to be a Blue Demon.
Someone who believes in Transparency
DePaul fans hope that the days of double-talk and cover up are over. The new Athletic Director should demonstrate a history of transparency. Transparency builds trust. Trust bonds people to institutions. Have a plan, communicate the plan, execute the plan. If the plan does not pan out, do a postmortem, evaluate your first plan and adjust. Acknowledge mistakes, give credit to those who helped in the success, and accepted personal responsibility when things go the wrong direction.
In conclusion, thanks for reaching out to the community to become better informed of the type of Athletic Director DePaul University needs.
The Lazy Blue Demon
***Feel free to write to the search firm as well at: firstname.lastname@example.org
***I have no idea if they will read this or respond, but it does not hurt to send a note.