A Closer Look at Bob Krause

On Friday, Kansas State announced the hiring of Bob Krause as athletics director of the Wildcats. He takes the place of Tim Weiser, who left last month to join the Big 12 Conference as deputy commissioner. Here's the take of Mark Janssen of The Manhattan Mercury on the hiring of Krause.

The most popular question circulating in the Wildcat Nation in the last 24 hours has been: so what qualifies Bob Krause to be an athletics director.

One answer: he's an artist.

With watercolor being his area of expertise, the art education major at Western Illinois explained: "With watercolor, you have to be creative. When you put one stroke down, you can't go back over it and start over. There's a demand for a certain level of competitiveness, you have to understand where you're going, and you have to be able to create.

"If you look at administration, it's very similar," said Krause, who on Friday afternoon was announced as a replacement to Tim Weiser as athletics director of the Wildcats' $38 million, 16-sport department.

While a move considered by most as unique, the decision of President Jon Wefald and Krause, vice president for institutional advancement, appears to be sound.

"For several years we've had a perception that the athletics director should be more of a chairman of the board model," said Krause, who will maintain his Anderson Hall office, but promises to "... have a presence at Bramlage Coliseum."

In the words of Wefald, while Krause will be the chairman of athletics, senior associate AD Jim Epps will carry the title of deputy athletics director in handling the routine day-to-day happenings.

It's the soundest of an administrative 1-2 punch in that it gives the department 50-some years of immediate experience including the most dreadful of "Futility U" times, to the most euphoric Bill Snyder-years.

While Krause has been involved in the hiring of the last five KSU ADs - Larry Travis, Steve Miller, Milt Richards, Max Urick and Weiser - he said hiring himself was "more difficult in a sense."

But in another sense, it was the right time, at the right place.

"This best serves us in trying to keep the momentum going because of the 20 years I've had in helping to build the program and see it evolve," said the 62-year-old Krause.

"It's a best opportunity to continue the commitment to compete for championships. Not just be competitive, but compete for championships."

In the end, Krause understands his success will be based on the success of one program, and one program only.

Travis' legacy was nondescript because his football coach was Stan Parrish. Miller will always be connected with the hire of Snyder, and Urick rode the high of KSU's rise to national gridiron acclaim.

Richards? He was a horrific fit in the Wildcat community; and, judgment on Weiser has yet to be totally processed due to the uncertainty in football and the fragile state of men's basketball.

While football has been five games below .500 in the last four seasons -- 4-7, 5-6, 7-6, 5-7 - Krause understands the future of the program could provide his first significant decision.

For now, however, he says, "I see us executing our plan. There have been no surprises in the plan that was established two years ago.

There's a plan to fill the roster, and we're pretty much on target with where we want to be. "I never get into predicting wins, but I want to see improvement each day," said Krause. "We have the right people, we have a plan in place, and we're working the plan."

Krause added, "When you're coming off a couple down years like we were, there is always going to be a time of transition while we're getting it back to where we want it to be."

For certain, Krause is where he wants to be. He has a passion for Kansas State University, and a passion for athletics. Today, he's directing the athletic department of Kansas State University.

A middle-of-the-road football player, himself, at Chicago's Lane Technical, an all-boys school of 6,000, Krause's career was cut short his senior season due to a medical condition. He tried the sport again as a freshman at Western Illinois, but, "After five or six days, I knew my heart wasn't into it. I didn't want to make it a priority."

Today, he does want to make it a priority with a continuing philosophy from the Wefald administration that KSU athletics is the "front porch" ... the "centerpiece" of the institution.

In a story last week in The Manhattan Mercury, Krause said, "It's the place where people see you the most, and where people have the highest emotional connection. If things are going well in sports, it's assumed everything at the institution is going well. If our teams are not winning, then there's a feeling of, well, things are screwed up."

The feeling here is that the Wefald-Krause team did right in the hiring of Krause without the nonsense of a national search.

He's one of K-State's own with an entrenched understanding of its Alumni Association and the KSU Foundation. The Krause-fit has been very right for 20 years with an understanding of the fund raising that will be needed for the current $70 million facility enhancement project.

The passion? Unmistakable.

He has earned the right to splash his own purple-blended watercolor display on the Wildcat athletic landscape.


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