SBD/May 11, 2012/Colleges

Univ. Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Scores A Coup In Hiring Andy Geiger As AD

Geiger leaves semiretirement to take AD job at UW-Milwaukee
Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mike Lovell on Thursday named Andy Geiger AD in a move he hopes will "put several years of turmoil" inside the school's athletic department behind him, according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Lovell said that the "bold move involving Geiger, who was athletic director at Ohio State and four other university athletic programs over a long career, is a step toward stability and continuity in the department." Lovell said that Geiger, 73, has a "one-year appointment through June 30, 2013, and could stay beyond that." The appointment, which came "swiftly after former athletic director Rick Costello resigned last month, represents a hiring coup for UWM." Geiger emerged as a candidate "just over a week ago," when College Sports Associates head hunter Todd Turner phoned to ask Geiger, "who was in semiretirement ... if he was interested." Geiger said Thursday, "I found my pulse quickening. 'Wow, that's a chance to get back on a campus and get back in the game a little bit.'" Geiger will play a "large role in the shaping of an ongoing campuswide strategic plan for the campus." At or near the "top of his agenda will be the study and discussion of building a multipurpose arena on campus to serve sports as well as provide a new home for convocations and concerts." Lovell said that the study "is a year away." Lovell: "Clearly, playing basketball downtown may not be the best solution for us in the long run" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/11). Geiger was SportsBusiness Journal's National AD of the Year in '03 (THE DAILY).

A BIG SCORE: In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes, "Unquestionably, Thursday was a huge day for a school and an athletic department that are not accustomed to doing things in a big-time way." Geiger is "as big-time as it gets in the business, a giant in his industry." He was at Ohio State for 11 years, and nothing is "bigger on the college-athletics landscape than The Ohio State University." Hunt asks why Geiger would leave retirement to "take on the challenge of guiding a shaky mid-major for at least a year through what Chancellor Mike Lovell calls 'a transition period' for the athletic department?" It sounds like Geiger "intends to keep it completely real at UWM, with the goal to make it better than it is with no illusion for it to be more than it sensibly can be" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/11).
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