SBD/July 24, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Univ. Of Louisville Associate AD/Development Mark Jurich

Jurich returned to his alma mater after some good advice from his father
It's safe to say Univ. of Louisville Associate AD/Development MARK JURICH feels a strong connection to the school. After all, he is a former UL baseball player, has worked in the athletic department for five years, and his father TOM JURICH has been the school's AD since '97. Following his days on the college diamond, Mark was drafted by the Braves and spent five seasons playing Minor League ball before returning to Louisville as an administrator. "The long bus trips, playing in the small towns, the downtime in the locker rooms, going to the hole-in-the-wall bars with your teammates, the camaraderie factor, those are the things I miss the most now," he said. Jurich spoke with THE DAILY about key issues in development, how success in basketball and football carry over into non-revenue sports, and who gets the nod as his favorite celebrity chef.

Hot topics in development...
Donor retention. When you've kind of plateaued, how do you take that next step, what are some new programs, new initiatives that can get people on board? Data mining is the other one, trying to find people in your donor base, how you can get them to go above and beyond where they currently are, and what they’re currently giving.

Deal with the negatives...
It can have an adverse effect when you have negativity around the program. The best way to do it is try to get ahead of it, being honest with the public, being honest with your boosters and your donors, saying, "Here’s what’s going on, and here’s what we’re going to do, and we’re going to need to continue to have your support."

Accentuate the positives...
With baseball, we just completed a $4M expansion that was privately funded. And softball, we got a $3.5M expansion that we’ve begun construction on that will be ready for next year, that is privately fully-funded. When things are going well, we’ve had people who come to us through football and basketball saying, "What is your greatest need?" They stepped up and made a philanthropic gift to one of those two projects. But certainly, we got to know them through football and basketball.

Best advice I've ever received...
Find your passion and follow it, from my dad. The one thing he’s said that’s really resonated with me is finding something you love to do. My ultimate goal was to be an athletic director. He said if you want to be an athletic director, something that will be vital to you is getting experience in development and in fundraising. 

The sports industry needs more...
Strong leadership. Over the past few years, college athletics has been very fluid and unpredictable. This has left many universities with a feeling of uncertainty for their future.

An app I've got my eye on...
Ticketmaster is coming out with a new app that’s going to take their ticketing system mobile, which will be a great help for me from a development standpoint, being able to go to donors and add notes on the fly, checking out where people sit, seeing how much they donate, etc. Before that wasn't possible.

Best bites in the Derby City...
J. Alexander’s is the place where all the businessmen go to lunch, it’s traditional American food. To take my wife out or go to a nice place with donors, it’s an Italian restaurant called Volare.

Can't-miss TV shows...
My wife and I are big into the cooking shows. I’m a big GORDON RAMSAY fan. We like "MASTERCHEF," and we like "TOP CHEF." Also, a big fan of "THE VOICE."
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