Bloomington – While new IU Athletic Director Fred Glass might lack a background in collegiate athletic administration, his supporters say he more than makes up for it with plenty of other attributes.
Whether it's his affinity for the university thanks to his Hoosier roots and pair of Indiana University degrees or his love of IU athletics that dates back to his days as a youth when he'd pretend to be former IU wide receiver Jade Butcher on the football sandlot, IU's new athletic director is bubbling over with enthusiasm about his new job.
"The opportunity to serve as the athletic director at Indiana University is the most exciting and important thing I'll do in my professional life," Glass said. "That's not only because I'm an Indiana boy, but it's more exciting because I am an Indiana boy. I am of, and from, this university and this state."
He is now the man in charge of leading the IU Athletics Department for the foreseeable future. Glass will assume the duties of athletic director Jan. 2 and be paid $410,000 annually, according to IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre. He will replace Rick Greenspan, who announced his intentions to step down Dec. 31.
Prior to Tuesday's press conference, Glass met with IU's head coaches as well as the athletics administrative staff. Glass said he had breakfast with Greenspan and he anticipates a smooth transition at the end of the year.
"I'm very confident we'll have a graceful transition," Glass said. "I think it will be very seamless."
Glass comes to IU from the Indianapolis law firm of Baker & Daniels. While he's been a partner at the prestigious law firm, he's also had a hand in a variety of other endeavors in the Indianapolis area. He served for former Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson as the president of the city's Capital Improvement Board from 2000-07, and headed up the efforts for the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Glass also played a prominent role in making Indianapolis a part of the regular rotation of sites for the men's Final Four, and he led the city's efforts to land the 2011 Super Bowl. While Indianapolis lost out to Dallas, it did lay the groundwork for the city's successful bid for 2012.
Peterson, who attended the press conference, thinks IU has found the right person for the job.
"I've said for the over 20 years I've known him, he's a man of unparalleled judgment," Peterson said. "He knows the right thing to do in the situation.
"He gets things done, and gets them done the right way."
Doing things the right way was a major point of emphasis for Glass, who stressed the need for not only academic and athletic achievement, but rules compliance as well. While IU has had a long history of abiding by the NCAA rules in its various sports, the yet-to-be-resolved NCAA investigation into the men's basketball program has been a black eye for the entire department.
"We're going to follow the rules – we're going to be known for following the rules," Glass said.
Most of IU's coaches had their first opportunity to meet with Glass Tuesday morning at an 8:45 a.m. meeting at the Alumni Center. But during that short meeting he did leave an impression on a couple of the more prominent coaches who were in hand for the press conference.
"I'm really impressed with not only his background, but his passion for IU," said IU football coach Bill Lynch. "You tell he's excited about being here."
IU basketball coach Tom Crean, meanwhile, has a more in-depth knowledge about Glass thanks to his presence on IU's 13-member search committee that passed along Glass' name to IU President Michael McRobbie.
"It's obvious he cares deeply about Indiana," Crean said. "He comes very highly recommended…I'm excited to work with him."
Perhaps no one speaks more highly of Glass than Peterson, who was one the approximately 200 people who were in attendance at the Devault Alumni Center.
"Picking someone of absolutely impeccable integrity and character is a great message to the NCAA and all those who care about intercollegiate athletics, particularly Indiana University athletics," Peterson said. "The longer term questions are who has the abilities, the judgment, the creativity, the energy. All those things that Fred brings to the table. I think he's going to be a great athletic director for Indiana University for the long term."
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