Who's been the best AD?

Athletics Department, Facilities, etc.
meganeck
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:43 pm

Anybody care to chime in on who they think the best AD WIU has had? I'm not sure myself just wondered what others think. You can go back as far as you want I guess and it is subjective. You could think they were good because of the hires they made or because of the fundraising part of the job. Like I said just curious, I don't remember this really being discussed before.
leatherneckcountry
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:33 pm

Honestly don't know about the Ad's before Smiley but she is the obvious choice for me had some of the most successful teams under her leadership. The only thing I will give TVA is he did have some good hires.
meganeck
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:40 pm

leatherneckcountry wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:33 pm
Honestly don't know about the Ad's before Smiley but she is the obvious choice for me had some of the most successful teams under her leadership. The only thing I will give TVA is he did have some good hires.
I wondered if Smiley might be a popular pick. I agree TVA had good hires but didn't seem popular among many. I think Tanney did a good job but wasn't here long enough to be rate as the best.
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ST_Lawson
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:09 pm

Yeah, really the only ones I've been around for were Smiley, Val Alstine, Tommy Bell, Matt Tanney, and now Danielle Surprenant.

I know that Helen Smiley was well-liked and during her tenure, we had some pretty successful football and basketball teams. Probably would have made the NCAA tournament a couple of years if it wasn't for Valpo and Bryce Drew. Not a huge fan of Van Alstine...he did a few good things, but also royally screwed up a few things too. Tommy Bell seemed fine, but wasn't here very long. I think Tanney could have been pretty good, but again wasn't here long enough. Suprenant hasn't really been in charge long enough to get a great read on how she'll handle things. If she's named "actual" AD (as opposed to "interim"), and we're able to have a year or two of stable budgets from the state, then we'll see how things go.

At this point, Smiley is the best one that I can remember...and the Summit League's top award for a school on the women's side is the "Dr. Helen Smiley Women's All-Sports Award Trophy", so obviously she was at least somewhat well-respected among her peers in the athletics community.

From the Summit League website:
The Commissioner's Cup is given annually to the member institution that collects the most combined points in relationship to placement in league-sponsored sports between its men's and women's athletic programs, while the All-Sports Awards are given to the institutions that accumulate the most points in men's sports and women's sports. The men's award is named for former Valparaiso Director of Athletics Dr. William Steinbrecher, who guided the Crusaders from 1979-2004, while the women's award is named for former Western Illinois Director of Athletics Dr. Helen Smiley, who headed WIU's athletic program from 1994-2001.
Dr. Smiley was also inducted into the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=225
and the Summit League Hall of Fame in 2018: http://thesummitleague.org/halloffame/p ... iley_helen

Other AD's in the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame are:
Women's AD Marion Blackington: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=21
Ray "Rock" Hanson: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=91
Gil Peterson: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=192

All of whom had huge impacts on the state of WIU Athletics during their time at the helm.

EDIT - so, after looking at those names and when they were ADs at Western, it looks like we pretty much had Ray Hanson until 1964, not sure who else for a few years, Gil Peterson from 1970 to 1994, then Helen Smiley from 1994 to 2001, Van Alstine, Bell, Tanney, and Suprenant.
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leatherneckcountry
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:26 pm

ST_Lawson wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:09 pm
Yeah, really the only ones I've been around for were Smiley, Val Alstine, Tommy Bell, Matt Tanney, and now Danielle Surprenant.

I know that Helen Smiley was well-liked and during her tenure, we had some pretty successful football and basketball teams. Probably would have made the NCAA tournament a couple of years if it wasn't for Valpo and Bryce Drew. Not a huge fan of Van Alstine...he did a few good things, but also royally screwed up a few things too. Tommy Bell seemed fine, but wasn't here very long. I think Tanney could have been pretty good, but again wasn't here long enough. Suprenant hasn't really been in charge long enough to get a great read on how she'll handle things. If she's named "actual" AD (as opposed to "interim"), and we're able to have a year or two of stable budgets from the state, then we'll see how things go.

At this point, Smiley is the best one that I can remember...and the Summit League's top award for a school on the women's side is the "Dr. Helen Smiley Women's All-Sports Award Trophy", so obviously she was at least somewhat well-respected among her peers in the athletics community.

From the Summit League website:
The Commissioner's Cup is given annually to the member institution that collects the most combined points in relationship to placement in league-sponsored sports between its men's and women's athletic programs, while the All-Sports Awards are given to the institutions that accumulate the most points in men's sports and women's sports. The men's award is named for former Valparaiso Director of Athletics Dr. William Steinbrecher, who guided the Crusaders from 1979-2004, while the women's award is named for former Western Illinois Director of Athletics Dr. Helen Smiley, who headed WIU's athletic program from 1994-2001.
Dr. Smiley was also inducted into the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=225
and the Summit League Hall of Fame in 2018: http://thesummitleague.org/halloffame/p ... iley_helen

Other AD's in the WIU Athletics Hall of Fame are:
Women's AD Marion Blackington: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=21
Ray "Rock" Hanson: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=91
Gil Peterson: https://goleathernecks.com/hof.aspx?hof=192

All of whom had huge impacts on the state of WIU Athletics during their time at the helm.

EDIT - so, after looking at those names and when they were ADs at Western, it looks like we pretty much had Ray Hanson until 1964, not sure who else for a few years, Gil Peterson from 1970 to 1994, then Helen Smiley from 1994 to 2001, Van Alstine, Bell, Tanney, and Suprenant.
Yeah I’m Ray is obviously the best ever we aren’t the Necks without him but none of us are really old enough to remember him I guess I wasn’t around during smiley era either but I can look up things on who she hired and stuff. As far as TVA I just meant he had some pretty good hires as he hired Mo and Gravina but he was also completely out in left field on a lot of things.
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Tere North
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:55 pm

Helen Smiley!
vatusay
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:51 am

It’s been revolving door after TVA I forget who was here and when lol.
Last edited by vatusay on Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sealhall74
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:52 am

Rock was before my time but I will go with Gil Peterson. Managed transition from NAIA to D2 to D1 and integration of women's sports. I think he is the last AD that had a major athletic facility (Brophy Hall) constructed on his watch. Early 70s were the "heyday" of WIU athletics even though it was D2. Maybe his only mistake was taking us to D1 when we were not ready to go there.
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leatherneckcountry
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:07 am

sealhall74 wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:52 am
Rock was before my time but I will go with Gil Peterson. Managed transition from NAIA to D2 to D1 and integration of women's sports. I think he is the last AD that had a major athletic facility (Brophy Hall) constructed on his watch. Early 70s were the "heyday" of WIU athletics even though it was D2. Maybe his only mistake was taking us to D1 when we were not ready to go there.
Yeah reading up on Gil he’s is one of the main people to start the gateway and now the MVC
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Neckfansince71
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Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:15 am

Gordy Taylor for years had a program (Across the Miles) where he interviewed WIU folks from the present and the past. For instance, he interviewed Coach Mo when he was head coach. In August of 2004 he also interviewed Gil Peterson and Tony Karas together and I found it to be very informative regarding the movement of WIU from the NAIA to College Division NCAA, and finally to WIU's move to D1. I found it listed in the Malpass Library. I had a copy but I loaned mine to Sean McDonough when he was Asst. AD at WIU. There was a discussion at the end of Gil's tenure about updating Hanson. Eventually this campaign was named "Rebuild the Rock" but unfortunately most members of the Leatherneck Club at that point in time did not think that WIU needed a glitzy westside. "Well of course this is just Macomb!"

I would agree that Helen S. is a classy lady and administrator.! My only criticism of her is that she did not really do a whole lot for our facilities at a time when we were winning in football and basketball, Men's and Women's! The softball stadium was opened in 1998, but other than that, not a whole lot got done during her tenure which I think is why they hired TVA. Tere, maybe you can shed some light on this. I also heard a rumor many years ago that an overture to join the MVC was made while she was AD which WIU chose not to accept. Could have been just for softball, not sure. Seems like we also got left behind conference wise when the Horizon schools left the MidCon. Maybe not all her fault. Maybe just the attitude once again that seems to hang around at times, "well this is just Macomb!"

I think Tim did a very good job except that he was not good at communicating and negotiating with the administration. I think he really locked horns with the "hill" over the west side of Hanson Field project which as we know to this day has not been completed, versus the CPA! I think Goldfarb wanted to make sure the CPA came to town before embarking on a westside renovation and upgrade. He also was involved in the Don Patterson debacle unfortunately.

Well, guess that is enough for now! ;) jc
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