This past weekend was the last one for Senior Associate Athletic Director Mike Waddell, who accepted the position of athletic director of Townson University in Maryland. Mike was one of the 3 headed Mike's who has really made the University of Cincinnati sports landscape more appealing not only to the fan base but to the city and the national media. Mike Thomas brought Waddell with him from Akron and then Mike Harris came via Miami of Ohio and they have really made UC accessible to all media. I remember being on a local station (1230 WDBZ) not part of the broadcast rights, and they made it clear: everyone matters to us. They didn't just talk about it or even, as some had done before them avoid it; They lived it. Players, coaches, information and partnerships have become the norm. With Ryan Koslen on board the respect continued and although I am not in the mainstream media as much, blogging for the University of Cincinnati has been a blessing thanks to these gentleman and Mike in particular. When I announced the UC basketball games, it was Waddell who said let's get this place excited and he allowed me to do that in a style that the players loved (unfortunately some of the stiffs and starched ones disapproved). Mike Thomas even used my style of intro's when he mentioned his lovely wife Je-Je-Je- Je-Je-Jenny after the start of one game.
I'm going to miss Mike Waddell, who I introduced to Sugar & Spice as well as the other two Mikes because we always communicated away from the campus as well as on campus; and when he had an idea or thought, or even thought something wasn't right, he wasn't afraid to ask. Imagine that: getting feedback and input irrespective of your position. That is the Mike I know; I also know the military influenced Mike who was passionate about success and pushing the envelope. As long as you understand him, you'll enjoy working with him. Ask anyone from CSPN, Cincinnati's sports professional network and Mike was on board; coaching kids, even his own, he was engaging and getting better academically he was trying.
I know this isn't the last of Waddell we'll see; I'm sure he'll be back and in Baltimore rooting for the 'Cats, especially since they're no direct competition for UC. I would neither be surprised to see them on the basketball schedule as a means of a financial boost to their school and as a complimentary trip back to the Nati'. I look forward to seeing him again and I'm sure many others will too. We often have trouble with personalities that don't mirror ours and when you don't accept people for who they are you stymie your own growth. Mike and I have grown because we accepted each other, plain and simple. Mike Waddell, I accept the fact you're leaving for a chance to be in charge and to deploy the best practices you've learned along the way. If you share with Towson what you shared with us and what you learned while you were here, they will win by default.
I have won because I have a new friend, a new found respect for a job that is under
appreciated and a new school to root for. If Mike is there then I wish them well and I'm sure he feels the same about me and the University of Cincinnati.
All the best my friend and remember the words of Andrea Jung "If you feel like it's difficult to change, you will probably have a harder time succeeding."
Mike Waddell, changing you have done; succeeding you will always do...
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat