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October 03, 2004

A D1 AD In The Mold Of The Future

FROM THE RARIFIED ATMOSPHERE that is big-time D1 athletics comes a day-in-the-life report of Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione.

An ESPN.com writer shadowed the energetic Castiglione, 46, for a recent home game at Memorial Stadium versus Oregon.

The six year AD seemingly squeezed two days into one. While thousands of his VIP guests ate and drank lavishly and watched most of the game, Castiglione was constantly on the move, meeting and greeting, eating little and catching only a couple plays here and there.

Writer Pat Forde described Castiglione’s superlative hosting expertise thusly: “He is a one-man army of charm, a natural conversationalist who schmoozes so skillfully that you don't even realize you're being schmoozed.”

Wow. Potential boosters, hang on to your wallets.

The following are the highlights of Castiglione’s whirlwind of a day.

• Starts his day with a 45 minute run, then a couple hours with his wife (Kristen) and sons (Joseph Jr. and Jonathan).

• Heads to his office at McClendon Center, part of a $70 million stadium renovation completed under Castiglione’s tenure.

• Meets with the family of a blue-chip women’s basketball recruit.

• The lively AD extraordinaire bounces from meet-and-greets, paying respects and welcoming with David Boren (Oklahoma president), Nike’s Bob Knight (major Oregon supporter), coach Bob Stoops, Bill Moos (Oregon AD), Big 12 commish Ken Weiberg, Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker, selected members of the press corps, game day officials and anonymous passers-by.

• It’s 95 degrees, but the indomitable AD stays in his suit and tie all day.

• Castiglione said, “We’re hosting a party for 84,000. I’m just trying to make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves.” (The game drew a record crowd of 84,574).

• Oh yeah, Oklahoma whipped Oregon, 31-7.

OU is firmly entrenched in the top echelon of college athletics. The athletics budget is $55 million, and it is spread out among only 16 teams, which is far less than many schools with 20+ teams. About $2.6 million is generated for each home football game, and there are 63 luxury suites at Memorial Stadium.

However, the bricks and mortar and funding and tradition can only go so far. Castiglione is an AD in the mold of future—like Penn State’s Tim Curley, UCLA’s Dan Guerrero, UConn’s Jeff Hathaway and Georgia’s Damon Evans, to name just a few. He is more an MBA-type leader than an ex-coach (as was the mold in years past).

More later . . . .


(this 445 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was culled from a 3522 word article from espn.com of 9-22-04)