Q & A with Fred Glass

Editor’s note: Fred Glass sat down with The Herald-Times Tuesday to answer some questions about his new job as Indiana’s athletic director and the challenges ahead.

Q: How will you approach your first few months on the job?

A: You know, when this whole thing started, I re-read “Being Lucky,” which is his (Herman B Wells) memoir. When he, at a young age, was made the Dean of the Business School and didn’t have much background in academic administration, he said “I just talked to everybody I could talk to.” That’s what I want to do. I’ve already started laying the groundwork. I’ve asked all the coaches if they’ll meet one-on-one before the first of the year. Meet with all the athletic senior staff one-on-one before the first of the year. Identify key donors, alumni folks, boosters so there won’t be a lack of stakeholders represented. I think that will help me a lot (to) get a sense of the landscape. So based on that and hopefully an analysis of best practices in other departments, we’ll really start charting a course and a vision that people buy into. And I think we’ve got so many resources here at the university that we can utilize that maybe haven’t been as utilized in the past, including the business school and some of the tools they would have. There’s a lot of ways to leverage our resources and get more bang for our buck. That’s a big passion of mine, to integrate the department with the university and vice versa.

Q: Do you have knowledge of NCAA compliance?

A: I have been in sports, and the business of sports and sports regulation. But am I an expert on the fine points of NCAA and Big Ten compliance? I’m not. But I think this is a team sport. I think I bring some attributes to the party that are a little different than you might typically expect in a sitting athletic director or senior person in an athletic department. But by the same token I don’t have that blocking, tackling knowledge. But that’s why you have a department. I think taken together we’ll be able to meet the demands of the department. Like I said, a lot of it’s about vision, leadership. Compliance is job one. Following the rules, and making sure that Indiana is known for following the rules again, is my prime goal.

Q: How will your past experiences help you in this new job?

A: I think the fund-raising piece and experience will be helpful. I think working on major capital projects will be helpful. I think the fact that I’ve interacted with the public will be helpful. I understand what it’s like to work in a governmental environment. I think all those things will be helpful. But I think the essence of it is, at least for me, the opportunities I’ve had have really ingrained in me the important of leadership, judgment and accountability.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the athletic department?

A: Those of us who love Indiana University have been shaken by the NCAA infraction situation, and I think a big need is to try to get that in our rear-view mirror and start getting people to understand we follow the rules, our kids go to class, they graduated and we excel on the field, court, pool, course. We’ll see when the infraction report comes down and what that means. We’re last in the Big Ten in terms how much we spend on a per-sport basis. Feels like we’re going to need to find ways to generate revenue. I think there’s a lot of strengths to build on. I think Rick Greenspan has done a lot of great things for this university, but I think we need to take it to the next level.

Q: Why did you opt not to have a contract?

A: I guess I concluded that you can have all the stuff you want in a contract but ultimately you’re betting on yourself on whether you’re going to be successful or not. If you’re not successful, you need to move on and if you are successful all that contractual stuff isn’t important. I’m comfortable being an at-will employee.

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