SG: (laugh) Well, let's not do that please, I'm not sure I want the
parallel drawn that far...
GB: You've achieved a lot in the last year - the whole department has.
Coach Tedford's success on the football field, his recruiting class, Coach Braun's success
here in this building. And we can even see a corner being turned in the general level of
fan interest. But let's look back to the beginning of this year, to see where we started.
A year ago, you spoke about two critical goals: first, building attendance
revenue, recognizing that that required success on the football field. The second goal was
to lay the groundwork for the major fundraising efforts that are inevitably coming upon
us. For example, you spoke about financial transparency, saying that you had to have a
solid and known base in order to go to potential major contributors. So let's talk about
progress towards these goals.
SG: To think about the state of Cal Athletics, I have to return to our
mission statement, because that's where it all begins. Our goal is to put our student
athletes in the best possible position to compete and succeed in their academic and
In order to bring that about, for starters we have to be able to recruit
and retain great coaches. My sense is that we're well on the way. The obvious cases are
the ones you mentioned, Jeff Tedford and his staff, that's obvious. I think, less well
known, would be people like Kirk Everist who in literally his first months as head men's
water polo coach took the team to the finals in the NCAA tournament, within one goal of
And across board - we feel we've made great progress in that area.
Stepping back for a moment to the second goal you mentioned, essentially
our objective was to get an accurate picture of our financial situation. We've done that.
The person who has spearheaded that project, and who has done it with brilliance, has
been Mark Stephens, working with Dawn Whalin and Brad Bleichner. They've done terrific
work. Not only have they revealed every aspect of what we're doing, they have also set up
real zero-based budgets so that we now have the prospect of solid financial controls.
Now, that's the good news. The bad news is that we have a significant gap.
That gap is going to vary year-by-year depending on the revenue that is generated, both
from revenue sports and from our Bear Backer unit. But nevertheless, we have a structural
So in response to that, what we've done is essentially to develop a
strategic plan. The most obvious way, from a business standpoint, to deal with a gap like
we have is to address your revenue sources, in our case football, basketball and Bear
And we feel, clearly, that Jeff and his staff have significant
capabilities, that they're good at their work. Now we must create the fiscal
infrastructure that will support that work.
GB: Fiscal and physical?
SG: Certainly that's right. And the physical structure is of course the
Memorial Stadium project. There's a perfect parallel with basketball, in the building
where we sit now, it is clearly second to none. We have basketball coaches that are very
capable. That piece is in place.
Now we've got part of the football piece in place, i.e. the staff. And now
we have to round that out by bringing the stadium project along. And it's going well,
though I don't want to go into a lot of detail at this point, because statements I could
make now would later have to be contradicted - many details are still being fleshed out.
GB: Yes, you spoke about that on the radio at the halftime of a recent
basketball game. You said we would need to wait for the news to be fully developed, a
major story that can be accurately released.
SG: That's exactly right.
And now on the Bear Backers side, we are engaging in a national search for
a new head of Bear Backers. Kevin Anderson, who did wonderful work here over the years,
has gone to Oregon State. You know Kevin was very keen on being involved with revenue
sport management - and as director of Bear Backers here, that was a piece that was missing
So now we're engaging in a national search -
GB: You have a goal for this, a time frame?
SG: We'd like to have that person in place by April first. Korn-Ferry is
doing the search, and with the Bear Backer organization we've decided to hold open the
number two position that Tom Bowen formerly held so that the new person can hire the new
All that being said - sorry if I'm rambling a bit here - we're making good
progress in terms of improving our primary revenues streams.
GB: Let me give you one possible view from an outside observer. It's
evident that, in spite of all the looming expenses of the Memorial project, you've set in
place a direction for the department that says we must and will pay competitive salaries
to coaches; you've hired some talented senior managers, Mark Stephens or Robert Hartman as
examples, people that are needed to get the job done right.
There are many of us, certainly myself included, who think this is the
right course of action.
But in an era of budget cuts, at both the state and University levels, and
in the face of a general economic slowdown, it seems almost as though you are saying,
"Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead." Is this admirable or foolhardy courage
in the face of difficult circumstances?
SG: How I would respond to that is this: In order for us to prosper, we
have to invest in our revenue sources. We have to invest in people who can be productive,
who can bring clarity, in order to put ourselves on a stable footing.
If we were to simply contract, then essentially we would be dooming
ourselves to failure.
Be clear that it is the Chancellor who ultimately allows these decisions to
be made. These decisions are not made in a vacuum. Every hire made here moves through Vice
Chancellor Horace Mitchell and Chancellor Bob Berdhal. And we've made the same case to
them that I have just made to you. If we're going to prosper, if we're going to maintain a
broad-based program, we have to invest.
GB: I've written a few short editorials saying that because of a confluence
of factors including your tenure here, Coach Tedford's success, Coach Braun's success, the
huge Memorial Stadium project, and the departmental fiscal gap, that we may now be facing
a generation-defining moment. That now - these next months and years - might just be a
critical time in our history, a time when either we will (or will not) step up and catch
the momentum you are creating here, to help carry it forward.
SG: I think your words are absolutely accurate. The one word I might
suggest - not to affect any form of drama - is that it is a seminal moment in the history
of Cal Athletics. An absolutely seminal moment.
GB: Would it be accurate to say that the next 12 to 18 months are critical?
Are the issues that close upon us?
SG: Yes, I think those months are critical. There are two elements here to
One, the stadium project - is just huge, huge. That project is ultimately
going to be multipurpose, multi-use. Tom Campbell at the Haas Business School has
expressed a strong interest in participating. At campus Central Development, Donald
McQuade has shown strong interest. Randy Parent of the California Alumni Association has
It's also possible that Boalt Hall will be interested too, though right now
it's difficult to get an accurate assessment from them due to the fact that we don't have
a dean there at this point. But in any case the Memorial Stadium renovation is multi-use
project, which helps share costs and develop additional sources of ongoing revenue.
But even more than that, the Memorial project is absolutely critical to the
- and you CyberBears may appreciate this even better than I do - morale and perception of
Cal Athletics in general.
And, I have to say this: we're now so close to having this working that to
contract at this point would be a tragic error.
Concurrent with the foregoing, another message that we've been delivering
over and over again is the immediate need for stewardship. For people to step forward,
both philanthropically and with leadership, to assist in creating a solid base and friends
groups for our non-revenue sports.
Now I don't want to say this with any form of bragging about Men's Crew,
but that sport is an example of a program that back in the mid-seventies realized that in
order to survive and thrive, it would have to be self-sufficient. And so over a decade,
people came forward and built a substantial endowment, coupled with annual giving, that
essentially now has men's crew "off the books". And that's also true of Rugby,
that's true of Golf, and we've got great movement in the Aquatics group, headed by Rick
Cronk and Peter Schnugg who are organizing brilliantly with the help of Jill Friend and
Teresa Kuehn. I'm very confident that they are absolutely on the right track.
There are "life signs" that are taking place in Track and Field,
there's a group that's beginning to sense the importance of that mission. Baseball, same.
And so internally, and externally, we're delivering the message. In some cases it's well
received. In other cases, there's an ignorance of what the overall structure is.
"Well", some say, "why doesn't the University just pay for this? Well you
know, and most of your readers know, that the University has only and can only put minimal
amounts of dollars out for athletics, now or ever.
So the message is going out that we need to organize, sport by sport, to
develop strong friends groups, and to bring these groups to a point of independence.
That's IF we're going to maintain a broad-based program because, as you alluded, there's
enormous pressure with this fiscal crisis starting at the state level. We've been in
budget meetings with the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor Hyatt where it's clear that we
need to be ready to either make cuts or to find other ways to cover costs. We're working
hard on that second alternative.
GB: You've made it clear that it's very close to your heart to keep all the
sports operational. In the face of these pressures, do you think now there is a serious
chance that might not happen?
SG: What I can say is just this: there is tremendous pressure toward
reduction. That being said, we're committed to keeping a broad based program. Absolutely
committed. In other words, my sense and belief is that with creativity and with that
message being delivered, we'll be able to maintain the broad-based program.
You know - (leaning back in his chair) -- this goal is supported by one
very, very strong and compelling reason. There is this ideal of a between the University
and Athletics that began somewhere in Great Britain, the old idea of "sound mind,
GB: Maybe it began as far back as in ancient Greece?
SG: (good laugh) Yes (then getting serious) ... and we believe that.
So, to eliminate sports, to eliminate opportunities for young women and men
to participate, to compete at the highest level, to grow and learn, would be antithetical
in my view to our campus' most basic purposes.
Otherwise, what you become is ... if you take the easy course which is just
to eliminate sports ... which has certainly been done at a number of institutions around
the country ... essentially what you're saying is that you view athletics simply and
solely as a public relations wing of our campus. I can't accept that.
GB: Let's take one step to a side issue that may have a bearing on this:
You are aware, of course, of the negotiations and hearings going on new re Title IX? And
that the debate is centering on differences between the language of the original law and
how it has in fact been interpreted? What I want to ask you is whether you believe there
is any merit to rethinking how this law has been implemented? And what effect that might
have on the balance of programs in the department?
SG: The Title IX issue is easy for me to address, so let me be clear: Title
IX has been one of the best things for intercollegiate sports in America in my lifetime.
Having women have the same opportunities as men to compete - clearly - is tied to the
educational mission of our campus and our institutions. That's a worthy goal and a very
That being said, it needs to be funded. To be in compliance, to do what is
right, requires money.
Some universities have an
easy answer for that question, for example the Ivy's, they address it very easily. They
simply write a check for all athletics and comply. Were I the AD at Harvard, I could just
ask for the necessary $25 or $30 million to do the job.
Here, and at most Division1 schools, it's not that way. Unquestionably,
there has been a mandate, a completely justifiable mandate, to provide equal opportunity.
In turn, University administrators have turned to Mr. Athletic Director and said,
"Figure it out. This is the state law, we want you to do this, we support it, now you
And there are a number of tracks people have followed, as we said before.
The least creative way is to eliminate some men's sports. That's not what we want to do.
Beyond that I don't have any specific solutions other than the most basic: somehow we must
generate the funds that will support full compliance. Because it's the right thing to do.
GB: Regarding your efforts at fund raising, the old 90:10 rule says that a
small proportion of donors will come up with most of the money. But at this critical time
in the affairs of Cal Athletics, perhaps it would be wise to also reach out to the $10
donor, the $100 donor, in an effort to energize the whole community?
Oh yes, this is definitely part of the strategic plan of the Bear Backer
unit. Obviously a key goal of any fund raising organization is to broaden its donor base.
Actually, over a year ago, a very effective strategic plan was developed at
the Bear Backer office, portions of which are now being implemented. At this juncture I
say portions, because we don't have the leadership slots filled yet. But clearly that's a
key objective, we want to find ways that we can increase the sense of ownership in the
whole Cal community.
GB: So, let's see now, how long have you been Athletic Director?
SG: About one and a half years.
GB: And do you feel like you are getting well settled into the position?
SG: (laughs) To be in position to affect positive change - is a good thing.
That being said, it's a very challenging position.
GB: Is it consuming your life?
SG: Yes, it's very consuming, but that's probably in my nature, anyway.
GB: Your heart is really in being a coach and a mentor, isn't it?
SG: Yes, that's true.
GB: So do you find this job pulling you away from that? To an extent that
is sometimes uncomfortable?
SG: I am constantly asking myself that very same question. Constantly. And
you know it's very difficult to answer. I mean all the emotions involved in even one day.
Ultimately I'll have to make that call, and make that decision. As long as I feel that I
am contributing in that area, I will stay with it. That being said, here in this office I
frequently say our goal is to attract and retain great coaches. If at some point I felt I
didn't belong in that category, then I would have to make some decisions.
GB: Back when you first assumed the AD position, and said that you would
continue as Crew coach, there was a fair amount of concern expressed in places like
CyberBears, where people wondered how it would be possible to do both jobs well.
It later emerged - in interviews with you - that continuing as a coach, by
having that direct interaction with young athletes as they develop and mature, was the
heart and soul of what you thought was important to this department, that it helped make
you a better Athletic Director. My guess is that many fans understand that today.
SG: The day-by-day work with the student athletes brings a lot of
perspective about what this work is ultimately all about, about what finally we're trying
to achieve here. Now I would also say I suspect that the reason folks now accept the dual
role, as a way of operation, is that we've had some good results over the past 18 months.
That could change.
GB: When you and Jack Clark, both of you very fine coaches, worked together
to find a new football coach, I wondered whether the knowledge you two brought to the
selection process - your personal knowledge of what it means to be a successful coach,
contributed to your decision process.
SG: No question about that at all. No question. I'll refer to Jack - no,
I'll include myself in this too - we know our work. You may or may not always be able to
bring that to the results you desire - but you really do know the essence of your work.
That was an enormous advantage when we went out to select the football coach - and our
Of course the football coach is the one that most folks, like CyberBears
readers, would be interested in. But there are other cases like Kirk Everist, our
gymnastics coach, or Amber Drury-Pinto, the women's water polo coach, where you can just
sense the elements of those people's personalities. We can make a pretty well educated
guess that they have what it takes to succeed. Maybe it's as they say - "It takes one
to know one" (big laugh). No doubt the process is intuitive. It's highly intuitive,
not like a checklist at all.
GB: Thank you, Coach Gladstone, for spending this time with us. I've
enjoyed the chance to talk, and I think many CyberBears readers will enjoy these comments
SG: Well, I must say thank you to you too. This is great for us, your
ability to help in getting this information out.
GB: We take that as part of our mission as a Cal support group. We hope we
can contribute to awareness in the Cal community of the importance of participating in
this massive turnaround that is now underway.
SG: You've hit it right on the head. It's either going to go this way ...
(his hand slowly rising into the air) ... or it will reach a peak and taper off ... (hand
reaches a peak then angles down....).
We just have to make sure this succeeds.
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