Media days and meetings are nothing new to Pat Hobbs, but the football focus is. On the Rutgers job for eight months, the athletic director participated in his first Big Ten Football Media Days last week in Chicago.
Hobbs is a long-time basketball administrator, but football feels more like home after his adjustment period at Rutgers.
“You're always learning, whether it's basketball whether it's football,” Hobbs said. “I benefit by having a tremendous coach who's been a part of some of the best programs, the iconic programs in the country. At the same time, there's a business side to it. I've always been comfortable with the business side of football, the business side of basketball.
“An athletic department is a $75 million annual proposition. You've got to use those resources wisely. I've always been very confident in my abilities to do that. It's frankly more fun having football than not having football. I'm really excited about the upcoming season.”
Hobbs and the Rutgers athletic department remained busy behind the scenes after the public fundraising announcement in May regarding an indoor basketball practice facility.
Hobbs elevated Sarah Baumgartner to deputy director of athletics at the end of the academic year. Baumgartner came to Rutgers in late 2013, where she became a fundraising leader within the department. She accompanied Hobbs to Chicago for conference meetings.
“Sarah is obviously a tremendously talented person in athletics,” Hobbs said. “I needed somebody in the No. 2 position that I could rely on and trust and know that she would always know what my mind was in terms of how we want to do things first class. Those are all really important further demonstrations of how we intend not to just be a part of the Big Ten. We intend to compete and win in the Big Ten.”
While the baseball and softball facility continues its visible summer progress, basketball also remains on target.
Hobbs told a small group of reporters in May that the facility will be ready for younger high-school prospects by the time they begin college careers.
That timeline remains unchanged.
“We're moving forward with a design,” Hobbs said. “We're continuing to move forward with fundraising around that. You get through the summer and you give people a little bit of a break from fundraising asks and things like that. We'll be back aggressively fundraising in the fall. People have been really supportive, really responsive to it. Our timeline hasn't changed. Our goal is to open that facility in June of 2019.”
Alignment within the athletic department is a focus for Hobbs and his two biggest hires – Chris Ash and Steve Pikiell.
“It's important because leadership is really important and bringing Chris and Steve in to two of our very important programs is really important for our fans to see this is how we intend to compete,” Hobbs said.