The start of the school year is a time of change for a lot of SIUE community members, but newly-appointed Athletic Director Tim Hall said he has no intention of making any major changes just yet.
“My vision for our athletic department is to be a program that is regionally dominant and nationally respected,” Hall said.
Hall said he wants to use his first year in Edwardsville to get to know SIUE and see what the SIUE community would benefit most from.
Deputy Athletics Director Jason Coomer said taking time to learn a new school is standard practice in the world of collegiate athletics. Before coming to SIUE, Hall served as the athletics director for both the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Chancellor Randy Pembrook said there were a few factors about Hall’s previous experience at UMKC and UMBC, like those schools being part of a university system, in an urban environment and similarly sized, that made Hall a good fit for SIUE.
While Hall is not from the area, he said his hometown in Northeastern Ohio feels similar to the Metro-East.
He also said one of the only struggles in his move from Maryland to Edwardsville was fitting his six-person family into a Cougar Village apartment while they get settled and prepare to buy a house in Edwardsville.
Hall said one of his main goals at SIUE is to increase general interest in our athletics programs inside the university and the surrounding areas.
“We’re going to put a strategic plan together to delineate that process in terms of where we’re going, and we want to increase the relationship that all of our stakeholders have with SIUE Athletics,” Hall said.
According to Hall, one way to increase attendance at events is to hold what he called events within events by working with other entities on campus, such as student organizations holding recruitment events or bringing alumni back to be recognized on a particular night.
The other way Hall said he could help drive attendance to sporting events is by helping the school do better competitively.
“Usually a better product on the field or court results in higher attended contests. Let’s face it: everybody loves a winner,” Hall said. “We want our various constituencies, whoever they be, to support us in good times and bad, but people want to have fun at an event or athletic contest, and they want their team to win more than they lose.”
Pembrook also echoed some of Hall’s sentiments about the overall trajectory of athletics at SIUE for the next few years: that SIUE Athletics should continue to strive to produce academically successful student athletes while SIUE looks to improve competitively.
“[Hall] said our goal is that we would be in the top half of the conference in terms of where teams finish, and I think we can even move to where we consistently be in the top quartile of the conference,” Pembrook said.