Woodward committed to plan

SEATTLE - Whether at his 'day job' - coined by University President Mark Emmert - as Vice President of External Affairs, or his 'night job' as Washington's Interim Athletic Director, Scott Woodward knew this day would come. There were simply not enough hours in the day to wear two hats and play off both jobs like the sharp-dressed man that he is.

"There's so much going on and I couldn't sustain this level," he said. "I like to get in the middle of what I'm doing and I couldn't keep the pace doing both jobs for a sustained periods. Months maybe, but not years."

So Thursday Woodward announced he is not throwing his hat in the ring to be the full-time Athletic Director for the Huskies, instead choosing to stick with the job Emmert hired him to do a little over two years ago.

"He (Emmert) convinced me that I'm needed in External Affairs because we have a big year fiscally coming ahead, and we have a lot going on in our marketing piece," Woodward said. "But I will be intimately involved in the athletic department's number-one priority over the next year - and that's the restoration and renovation of Husky Stadium.

"It's such an attractive place, with such tradition - I thought the challenge was something I wanted to do. But I'm a team guy and President Emmert expressed to me in his subtle ways that he needed me in my current job. And I get that. But it's with mixed emotions that I make this decision."

Woodward will also continue to be the liason between the AD and the President's office when a full-time athletic director is announced. As of right now, there is no public timetable, but Woodward said that Emmert probably would like to hire a person 'sooner, rather than later'.

"Athletics is an important external piece of the University, and we have to be cognizant and vigilant about how we're represented to the general public and general population," he said. "There's a very close correlation."

Woodward, who has been a fixture at basketball games and football practices since taking over for Todd Turner in February, said that he'll probably be 'low profile' compared to what he has been. "I view the (Athletic Director) job as more of a producer role," he said. "Your talent are your coaches, who you pay a lot of money to. They are your upfront people. The Athletic Director, from my model and what I like, should be the producer to make sure everything is running smoothly and managed right."

And does he feel that the Athletic Department is in good health? "I think things are in very good shape," he said. "My only concern is that there's a worry about some complacency issues and acceptance of mediocrity. People were assuming the doing the right thing and winning were mutually exclusive and they're not. Winning is a value, and that's the one thing I wanted to bring together. Winning is a core value of what we do. The other things I wanted to bring together were compliance and doing things in the best interests of the student-athlete. To accept anything less, in my book, is a non-starter."

With his decision out of the way, Woodward is steeling himself for the biggest challenge to date; convincing the state legislature to help in the funding to restore Husky Stadium. An interim committee that was formed out of legislation from this past sessionto to look into the Stadium question should be named in the next month, comprised of an equal number of state democrats and republicans.

Woodward was part of a late effort last year by the school - with appearances from Emmert, former Governor (and stadium committee chair) Dan Evans and also Head Football Coach Tyrone Willingham - to plead their case. Recent estimates have the school spending upwards of $100 million in restoration expenses just to make sure the stadium is 100 percent safe after over a decade of neglect.

"We're going to continue to make sure Husky Stadium is a safe place to attend a football game," Woodward said. "(But) there comes a point in time where we worry about throwing good money after bad just to keep the stadium in repair, and the best I can tell we're getting close to that point."

Now that the committee has had some more time to ruminate on proposals, they've decided to approach the 2008 legislative session with a plan of attack that appears eerily similar to their last one - but Woodward is confident they've had the time to iron out the kinks in their system.

"We didn't do a good job of that last session because of time," he said. "We decided to move in a hurry, but now we have time. We're going to do it strategically and thoroughly."

It appears as if the committee's approach will be three-pronged; making their case to the state, the King County Council and also to those involved in the actual creation of the streams of revenue behind the 'Hotel-Motel' tax - the hotels, rental car companies and restauranteurs - to show why the renovation of Husky Stadium is a boon for their relative economies.

"We have to make a case for those tourism tax dollars," Woodward said emphatically. "This is a top priority. With the committee and the Tyee Board, I'll work hand-in-hand with the permanent Athletic Director to come up with an external strategy on trying to secure both the public tourism dollars we're seeking from Olympia and also working closely with donors and supporters of the U-Dub Athletic Department."

Woodward added that he is 'absolutely sure' donors and benefactors to Washington's Athletic Department will continue to give in the way they have in the past. Former gifts have helped in the creation of a renovated Hec Edmunson Pavilio, the Dempsey Indoor Facility, the Conibear Shellhouse - and most recently the Legends Center. "We're confident that we can be aggressive and make the case to our donors that this is needed," he said.

"I'm clearly committed and will be in the middle of it."

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