You Heard It From Me: Oakland Welcomes New Athletic Director
By Seth J. Walker
Rochester, Michigan- By now, news has traveled about Oakland University’s new athletic director, Steve Waterfield, who was formally introduced Tuesday morning. The thing that obviously jumps out about Waterfield when you look at his resume is his extensive experience at Power-Five schools, Miami (FL), Wisconsin, and his most recent stop, Nebraska. Plus, when you throw in that he grew up in Sandusky, Ohio and graduated from Ohio, State, Waterfield is very familiar with the Great Lakes region.
“Yes, this means you’re getting season passes to Cedar Point,” Waterfield told his sons in the crowd, Davis and Austin. “And I can’t for you guys to get to try (Faygo) red pop, which we can’t get in Lincoln, Nebraska.”
Pat Caputo of the Oakland Press wrote a column, which interestingly can’t be found online anymore as of press time, how Waterfield will have challenges as the new Athletic director because of Oakland’s athletic facilities. To claim that these facilities have hindered Oakland’s ability to draw quality recruits, though, isn’t accurate.
If you were to go to goldengrizzlies.com, and take a moment to read some of the player bios about what brought them to OU, they will generally mention how beautiful the campus is, the coaching staffs for the various programs, and the majors that Oakland offers. It doesn’t appear that the athletic facilities, which Caputo asserted as being worse than many Division II schools in the region, is that much of a deterrent; especially when you mention that Oakland beat out all other Horizon League schools for its fourth straight McCafferty Trophy for excellence in overall athletics.
Sure, the athletic facilities could be better, but Oakland men’s basketball head coach, Greg Kampe told Channel 7’s Brad Galli how excited he is that Oakland is getting an athletic director “coming from the best facilities,” and will thus see the great need for improvement at OU.
Oakland’s last athletic director, Jeff Konya, was an upgrade over his predecessor, Tracy Huth, using branding to greatly increase Oakland’s visibility regionally and nationally. If Waterfield is able to continue this momentum and deliver on better athletic facilities, then he would be an obvious upgrade over Konya. That would give student athletes yet one more reason to consider Oakland, along with the beautiful campus, choice of majors, and quality coaches. You heard it from me, Seth Walker.