Transcription: Whit Babcock Introductory News Conference|
Oct. 24, 2011
“When I started seeking advice on who should be the next athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, the name Whit Babcock was one of the very first names recommended to me. Whit is highly regarded among his fellow athletic administrators and really across the country. He is a true rising star in intercollegiate athletics. We were lucky to recruit him here to the University of Cincinnati. I am mostly delighted to welcome to the University of Cincinnati and to the Greater Cincinnati area, not only Whit, but his entire family. Kelly, good to see you again, and his three sons – Andrew, Brett, and Eli. They are already decked out in red and black. I hope that you find our campus an exciting place because it is an exciting place.
“Our enrollment for two years in a row now exceeds over 42,000 students; something we are very proud of. Our campus is recognized as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, not only by Forbes Magazine, but by two other magazines as well. Two other publications recognized the beauty of the University of Cincinnati. Our sports programs are of course equally as exciting. Whit will have an opportunity to build on the ever-impressive Bearcat progress and we are excited about that. We have a football team today that is ranked 24 by the AP and number 23 by USA Today. The men’s basketball program ranked in the top 25. Interesting enough, that is the first time since December of 2009 that both football and men’s basketball have been nationally ranked at the same time. UC is also the only Ohio university with a top 25 team in both men’s basketball and football. And what’s more important as well, is we are also ranked top 25 in the country in research funding, so that is a trio, it really is.
“In addition, our football team is the first BIG EAST team, this season, to become bowl eligible. The volleyball team holds the longest current home win streak in the nation. Academically, our student-athletes continue to excel in graduation rates and grade point averages and in the community where our teams are giving back to Greater Cincinnati. This is so important, when you think about that, our teams, in spite of all they do in class, in the classroom, and on the field. They are providing more than 5,500 hours of service this past year and I am truly delighted and pleased with that commitment to service.
“Today, with the appointment of our new A.D., is a launching point for greater things to come for the University of Cincinnati. Whit Babcock - he is a leader with great fundraising success and athletic success that will serve us well. In an interview with GoBEARCATS.com this weekend, Whit was asked, what is the characteristic he seeks in an ideal academic department. And he said two words, ‘Good people.’ I could not agree with him more, it is all about good people and we are fortunate to have good people in the University of Cincinnati and in particular the athletics department.
“Whit Babcock comes to us from the University of Missouri where he is in his fifth year as execute associate director. In fact, today a number of his colleagues flew in from Missouri to be here and be part of this and it shows how strongly they feel about him and the connection they have with him. We have Missouri athletic director Mike Alden and other members of the Missouri athletics team. Let’s have them stand and recognize them. I think it speaks volumes about the man we have hired to have them show up today that they truly care about him.
“Whit also worked at West Virginia University as the assistant athletic director and executive director for development and in a similar position at Auburn University. Whit, of course, is an athlete himself. He lettered for the James Madison baseball program and served as the team captain during his senior year. He holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison and a master’s degree in Sports Management from West Virginia University. I have absolute confidence that Whit Babcock will take our program forward and build on the great success we have had here at the University of Cincinnati helping student-athletes, both, on and off the field. And now it is my pleasure to present to you Whit Babcock, the new University of Cincinnati athletic director. Whit, would you please come on up.”
“Thank you, Dr. Williams and Bob (Arkeilpane) for the extremely kind introduction. It is my pleasure and honor to be here at the University of Cincinnati to accept your job as the director of athletics. President Williams, who was a key reason in my interest in the position, his passion, his leadership, upbringing, love of students, his strategic planning, and his desire to make the University of Cincinnati a destination job drew me instantly. And I really look forward to working for him and being a part of the community here. Before I go too much farther, I’d like to introduce my family to the Bearcat family. My family and my faith in God are the two anchors that keep me grounded. In this job you have a lot of people and things that are pulling at you. A lot of constituents that are often competing with each and I think it’s crucial to have anchors in your life that keep you grounded and from which you can build your foundation on. They are my faith and my family.
“My comments will be brief and they will cover the three values that will define the culture for the University of Cincinnati Athletic Department.
“First is a commitment to comprehensive excellence. Excellence is defined as, ‘To rise up and surpass,’ That will be the mission here in the athletic department. We will strive for and achieve excellence in the classroom and in competition. We will support the academic mission of the university whole heartedly. And competitively, we will respect our opponents, but we will fear no one. We will go toe to toe with anyone in the country and we will expect to win and we will expect to win championships.
“Secondly, we will center our focus on preparing the student-athlete for life. I am the son of a coach and the product of the student-athlete experience. And I believe tremendously in that. As a student-athlete, you learn how to deal with stress, failure, time commitment, dealing with people from other cultures and diverse backgrounds, commitment to academic excellence and lifelong fitness. Our centering focus on the student-athlete will include, first and foremost, the safety, health and well being of our student-athletes. Me, personally, Dr. Williams and our entire department are entrusted with someone’s son or daughter. And as a father, I know how important that is. So, safety, health and wellbeing of our student-athletes will be paramount. We will focus on the academic success of our student-athletes and their academic achievements. We will focus on the social responsibility of our student athletes. We expect them to be role models and ambassadors. It is a privilege to be a student-athlete at the University of Cincinnati. And a slogan from my boss at the University of Missouri was, ‘The logo never comes off.’ So for our student-athletes, that logo never comes off when they’re in season or out of season, when they are in the community in the evening and when they go home for the holidays. And they can wear it with honor. We will focus on the competitive success of our student-athletes as well. They will be coached and trained by the best. They come to UC to compete and be successful. We will win with class, and lose with dignity.
“My third priority or value that will define our mission is that we will engage our community. We will engage the campus community, the Cincinnati community, the Ohio community and beyond. It’s about coming together as one team, under one flag, under one banner and as one family. Simply put, we will invite our community into a relationship with us. We will invite our students, faculty, staff, fans, alumni and donors to get involved with us in a way that is meaningful to them. We will ask them to invest. There is a number of ways to invest, but we will ask them to invest. Some will want to invest in academics and scholarships for our student-athletes. Some will want to invest in our social responsibility and community initiatives and in our development of well-rounded student-athletes. Some will want to support our competitive excellence. We will engage them all and have arms wide enough to welcome them all.
“So in summary, our three priorities or values that will guide our mission in the department of athletics are: we will have a commitment to comprehensive excellence in all that we do; we will center our focus on the student-athlete and preparing champions for life; and we will engage our community. Those will define our mission moving forward.
“I’d also like to congratulate our nationally-ranked football team on their win over South Florida. On an ESPN app., I went back and watched the highlights. The heart that they showed and the calm confidence of the coaching staff - great victory. Also, volleyball won this weekend, sweeping West Virginia 3-0. That was one I enjoyed hearing. That long win streak is A+. So congratulations. Our women’s swimming program beat Xavier and I know that’s pretty important in this neck of the woods. Congratulations to those three.
“Kelly and I and the boys are thrilled to be here. We look forward to getting through this transition and getting up and running. Lastly, I’d like to thank President Williams again and the Board of Trustees for this opportunity.