San Jose State AD Marie Tuite makes it clear
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.‘Football must lead the way’
By Jon Wilner, bayareanewsgroup.com, 5-23-17
Newly named/promoted San Jose State athletic director Marie Tuite mentioned several goals late last week during an introductory news conference.
They included immersing SJSU athletics in the fabric of the city and building bridges between South Campus and the downtown heart of the university.
(I assume she meant bridges in a figurative sense. But if she could do it literally, with a shaded moving walkway from Alma to San Carlos, and maybe free coffee, too, that would be spectacular.)
Tuite also mentioned as a goal the need to make football successful consistently.
"It’s imperative,” she said, "that football lead the way.”
"Most ADs hold the same position I do: We’re all looking to generate revenue,” she added later. "At San Jose State, the quickest way to get there is a winning product in CEFCU Stadium.”
That’s why Tuite, who counts as mentors former SJSU coaches Dick Tomey and Mike MacIntyre, mentioned it during her remarks.
That’s also why Tuite and first-year coach Brent Brennan are moving in lockstep.
"Since the day I was hired, I haven’t worked more closely with anyone than Marie,” Brennan said. "She’s been with me every day.”
Tuite’s blunt public comment on the importance of football might not sit well with proponents of SJSU’s Olympics sports, and that’s understandable.
But here’s the reality:
There is no better way to grow athletic department revenue … to increase budgets for Olympic sports … to attract large donations from longtime constituents … to lure new donors … to increase applications for admissions … to expand SJSU’s visibility throughout the South Bay and the Bay Area … than through football.
Time and again, we see examples of the impact winning football can have on all facets of a university. (Hey, it worked for Stanford, where they called a jump in applications and fundraising the ‘Andrew Luck effect.’)
The Spartans’ success in 2012 was so unexpected, and so fleeting, that it didn’t take hold. The Spartans went from so-so to very good and back to so-so before a passionate (and financial) bond was established.
But winning consistently? That has no equal when it comes to expanding SJSU’s brand. And guess what: Expanding SJSU’s brand is atop the wish list of university president Mary Papazian.
That’s another way of stating that Tuite isn’t alone in recognizing the need for winning football.
Papazian is on board, it seems, more than any president since Don Kassing a decade ago. Same goes for other top university officials, like VP/advancement Paul Lanning and VP/finance Charlie Faas.
They all get what’s at stake for SJSU athletics, and for the broader, long-term success of the university.
The size and scope of football is such that all the powerbrokers must be on board.
Which brings us to the not-insignificant matter of the North End Zone project: The long-awaited, yet-to-be-built football operations center that is essential to long-term football success.
In Papazian’s view, the groundwork had to come first: The Spartans needed to achieve smaller facility successes to generate momentum for the NEZ endeavor; they needed a coaching staff in place; they needed an athletic director in place.
With the positions filled and the Spartan Golf Complex open, Papazian said of the NEZ:
"We’re going to begin to plan and make those decisions.”
For SJSU football, the sooner the better isn’t nearly soon enough.
This article has been reprinted on Clips with the author's permission.