Paul Kowalczyk was introduced as the new athletic director at CSU on April 11. He will officially take over on May 17. We, at the Collegian, thought we’d get a better feel for the guy, so we grilled him with 10 questions we think you’d like to know the answers to.
Q: Obviously your name is tough to pronounce. There’s already a Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) in college sports, is there any room for A.D. K?
A: I usually go by PK, but it’s not a problem though.
Q: You played college football (at Denison University). If you could pick a favorite sport, which would it be, and why?
A: As an A.D., I happen to love them all. I want to see all of them excel.
Q: So you are probably aware of the financial struggles with the CSU athletic department. You’ve had success at Southern Illinois. What kind of things do you think would benefit the program here that worked at SIU?
A: I think no matter where you go you face the same kind of problems. I need to get in there and take a close look. I’m a fiscally conservative guy. We need to increase the revenue.
Q: The past five athletic directors haven’t lasted more than three years. What kind of commitment can we expect from you?
A: To get the job done, it’s going to take more than three years. When I set out to achieve something, I’ll do it.
Q: Fort Collins is known for its beer and microbreweries. If you were a beer, which would it be, and why?
A: (Laughs)…Well I’d have to be an American pale ale. It’s the right combination of bitterness and hops. In the end, very satisfying.
Q: Nicely done… Student participation is important at any school. How would you get more students involved here?
A: The thing I was most impressed with was that students (at CSU) are already sold on athletics and winning. We need to keep it going. I really like to work directly with the students – anything we can do to engage them will help. Students basically want two things: ‘free’ and ‘success.’
Q: SIU and CSU are relatively similar schools. What kind of similarities do you see in the athletic programs?
A: I think the similarities are that they are both good programs that could be better. At CSU, the foundation is there but we need to take another step in conference and nationally.
Q: Are there any immediate actions you have in mind regarding the coaching staff?
A: It’s going to take a full year to get a feel. One of the first things I’ll do is survey the staff.
Q: How would you rate the Mountain West Conference?
A: I think the Mountain West is an outstanding conference. It’s at the doorstep of the six BCS (Bowl Championship Series) conferences. The competition level, the athletes and the academics are all outstanding.
Q: Now the question everyone wants to know…Who would win in a fight between a Saluki (SIU’s mascot, a breed of dog from the Middle East used for hunting) and a Ram?
A: (Laughs)…That’s not fair. If it were a smacking heads kind of fight…the Ram would win. But in a race the Saluki would easily take it.
Q: Final thoughts?
A: (Coming to CSU) will be a challenge but a great opportunity. I’m truly excited to be a Ram.