I never said you should be excited about having IUPUI join the Horizon League. In fact I agree that you should be disappointed. Probably one of the biggest factors in the different trajectories of Milwaukee and Butler is due to ADs. Barry Collier has been amazing at Butler - and Milwaukee has pretty much had the opposite.
Post by Black PantherU on Jan 20, 2018 17:03:51 GMT -6
It's a little deeper than the AD. If I'm appointed czar of UWM, firing Amanda Braun is just one of several moves I'd make on Day One.
I strongly believe that this university's indifference can be traced back to a few moments in time. Additionally, we have a few things working against us inherently.
Despite reaching an enrollment as high as 32,000, Milwaukee did not have a high number of students living on campus until the turn of the century - the construction of Sandburg East in the 90's helped, and homeowners slowly began selling off their homes to landlords in the areas directly south and west of campus around the year 2000. That process continues, but the "modern" UWM didn't really take hold until the renovation of the Kenilworth Building (upperclass and international students) and construction of Riverview Hall (2008) and Cambridge Commons (~2010) effectively extended "campus" to cover the entire East Side down to North Avenue.
Enrollment is still made up of about 50% commuting students. This drives down the retention rate, student engagement and other things that are necessary for the university to build a strong student fan following for athletics (really just men's basketball). There are still ~15,000 students on-campus, but playing downtown and not on campus makes it difficult to get students engaged. The Klotsche Center is not an answer; if we were talking about a 5,000-seat updated arena with suites, full amenities and an attractive aesthetic, it would be a good home. Instead, it's a 2,000-seat high school gym masquerading as a Division I facility. Let me tell you, women's basketball has a b**** of a time recruiting against Green Bay with their fantastic Kress Center and its dedicated, private practice gyms for basketball. We had the opportunity to have that, but pressing parking problems on campus made then-chancellor Nancy Zimpher choose to build an underground parking garage rather than razing and rebuilding the arena. If planning were in 2011 and not 2003, the purchase of the northwest quadrant (formerly Columbia Hospital campus) would have probably driven Zimpher to go with the arena over expensive underground parking. Oh well. C'est la vie.
Playing in a bona fide major professional sports city hurts. On any given night, the Panthers could be going up against the Bucks or Marquette. The sports entertainment dollar is further stretched by the Brewers and Milwaukee Admirals. Outside sports, there's a million things going on in Milwaukee.
Butler benefits from existing for 150 years. UWM's predecessor institutions were not major traditional universities but a mixture of continuing education, a small private college (Downer College) and a teacher's college. We don't have the century-plus of tradition to excite students. We don't have a big-time conference full of recognizable names and future lottery picks to get them in the stands.
Not having football is a mixed bag. For one, the sport is prohibitively expensive and would drag on the basketball program's mojo. Second, a full-fledged program would make basketball an afterthought, and would need to be way more expensive than a basic team (which, as I said, is prohibitively expensive) to win. The downside is that football would keep students' interest piqued in the Panthers. One of the biggest problems we have on this campus is the disappointment of the second week of September - students get to campus and are so excited that they pack the Klotsche for volleyball and Engelmann for soccer. Their interest wanes because the sports are unimportant on a national scale in college. By the time basketball starts, many freshmen who would be jacked to go to games have sunk back into their Bucky fandom and forgotten the Panthers even exist.
As for the aforementioned events that led us to this point, I think there's a few.
1. Cutting football in 1974 hurt campus pride. The Board of Trustees, preparing to save money, announced they were planning to cut the arts program and football program to that end. Arts and Sports students were united in trying to save both; the arts program was saved, and today the Peck School of the Arts is a major college in several subjects. Football, on the other hand, reached a breaking point, and the Trustees announced in 1974 that if they didn't average a certain number for attendance, they'd cancel the program. The students sold out every game, and the team still got cut. That move taught students not to trust the administration, and interest in athletics overall suffered.
2. Dropping out of Division I to the dregs of NAIA D-II at the end of the 70's, following a recruiting scandal around coach Bob Gottlieb, was a huge blow. Other programs of similar stature enjoyed growth as cable TV debuted and college hoops' reach exploded. Teams that UWM had played frequently in the 60's and 70's grew to be some of the best major and mid-major programs today. Sports, which had seen a precipitous drop in interest in the 70's, became a non-entity.
3. This might be the most important misstep. In the late 1980's, UWM hired Bud Haidet as AD from Miami University in Ohio. The centerpiece of Bud's plan was to bring Milwaukee Athletics back up to Division I. The Faculty Senate wholeheartedly endorsed the move to Division I, but problems stemmed from when and how the university would do it. Bud's plan, which went into effect, was to move to D-I as quickly as possible. It made no sense to remain in lower divisions when another UW school, Green Bay, had effectively replaced Milwaukee in D-I and played in the Mid-Con (now Summit) for most of that decade.
The Senate preferred to take time, and to use the move to D-I less as a springboard and more as a foundation to build a skyscraper. The university had huge problems if it wanted to move to D-I: the Klotsche Center was not built for intercollegiate athletics; the basketball team lacked dedicated training facilities that were starting to become commonplace at the top of D-I; the baseball team did not have a permanent stadium.
It's incredible. They saw back then exactly the problems we still have today. The move was rushed, and the program squandered the biggest opportunity to raise big money.
It wasn't until recent years that Panther fans could see an in-the-flesh example of what our transition should have been. Northern Kentucky moved up from Division II to Division I in 2012, but NKU didn't run with the decision. They took their time and established a whole capital fundraising campaign to facilitate the move. NKU built brand new game facilities for soccer, baseball and basketball - the last of which, now known as BB&T Arena, is the crown jewel of the program and arguably the best newer facility in the Horizon League. It's a glaring example of how UWM should have done it; instead, we're stuck with the same problems we had 30 years ago when Bud was hired.
As a result, the program never used the opportunity to build excitement and sustained support. The feeling is generally this: the athletic program went Division I, while the rest of the campus remained in a Division III mindset toward the athletics program.
4. The construction of the Klotsche Center Pavilion, finished in 2006, should have been the fix for all of basketball's woes. At a cost of about $60 million, about half of that was spent on the building itself. Sports and recreation space for students was the biggest chunk of the main space, with a two-story weight room, quarter mile track and several multipurpose courts for basketball and other intramural sports. Athletics got full offices (well, as full as you can be without having bathrooms in the entire suite), meeting and studying space, as well as locker rooms for the men's basketball program (with pretty nice lockers courtesy of Carmel Builders) and shared ones for other sports. The athletic program got a dedicated, smaller weight room and the athletic training program - which helped the athletic department in addition to its primary academic mission - got a full suite next to the varsity locker rooms.
The other half of the cost went down into the ground. The parking problem was partly helped by adding a few hundred parking spots underground, but costs went through the roof; every level down added to the cost exponentially. In the end, of the $60 million only about half went to sports, and even then the biggest chunk of space went to general student use and not the varsity D-I athletics program.
There are other things that have messed with the program, but generally you want an entire university to be behind the basketball program for it to succeed. While at Memphis, John Calipari once told Athlon Sports in their preview issue that it takes a village for the program to win. I'd argue that at Memphis it also took a few duffel bags of cash, but he wasn't wrong. Bruce Pearl's success was hardly due to just Bruce Pearl; from the chancellor on down to the AD, the donors, the season ticket holders, everyone at the games was invested. And on campus, everyone pitched in - if the university does it right, EVERYONE gets involved in making the program better - that includes faculty, students, employees, the admissions office, the college of whatever sciences, on and on and on. Pearl did well because he got help from the people he needed help from and those he didn't need help from got the f*ck out of his way. Even he had some stupid sh*t he had to deal with, but nowadays I don't envy the job in front of Pat Baldwin. He's got a lot more than his timeout count to worry about.
It takes a village, and Butler has a village. Milwaukee hasn't had that. If IUPUI wants to reach that level, they need the entire campus community to take ownership in the program.
Also, own the Ooey-Pooey nickname. Own it. It's unique. Don't throw away anything that makes you unique.
I do find all of the history stuff you are writing about very interesting. Its a lot! But very interesting. I've lived in Indy since 1984 - moving here after graduating from IU Bloomington. Back then, Butler was almost invisible. I knew very little about them, which Conference they were in, never paid attention to who they were playing. They weren't very good and didn't seem to be doing much to try to improve. I honestly paid pretty much no attention to the school and its programs. IUPUI was even more of an enigma. It was a very new school and was building all kinds of new buildings and sports facilities on its campus. Most of the sports facilities were absolutely world class - but they were built more for the City to use them for hosting major national and international sporting events. They were key to Indpls being able to host the National Sports Festival in 1982, the Pan American Games in 1987, and numerous NCAA swimming and diving championships, US Olympic Trials in swmming, diving, track and field, and mant other major events on campus. IUPUI was known as a place where big sporting events were held - but almost always they had nothing to do with IUPUI's sports teams.
Beginning in the early 90's, it seemed Butler started to focus on improving its basketball and other sports programs and, as you mentioned Black Panther, the progress they have made has been well documented to say the least. IUPUI may be able to make some good strides. Becoming a competitor in the Horizon League will be a good start.
(Unfortunatelythe Jaguars lost to Youngstown State today 85 - 62. Second loss in a row. Need to get back up and get ready for their next game.)
P.S. - Honestly, I never hear "Ooey Pooey" at all anymore. Its been many years since I've heard it anywhere. It is an outdated term as far as I am aware. If people want to use it, I won't really mind - but it just isn't heard around Indpls anymore. (Twenty + years ago you'd hear it.) I think it could become just a cute terminology / nickname for the school and I don't think anyone considers it to be necessarily a derogatory thing. I suppose a lot just kind of depends on the tone with which it is used.
Yeah - - maybe. Like I said, I just don't hear it anymore. Maybe if I were around campus more often or hung out with younger college age crowds or something - I might hear it used.
I’d just ignore it. I never heard it until this summer and then forgot about it until you mentioned it in this thread. To be honest, I’m not sure how long I’ve even known IUPUI is in Indy. I’ve paid as little attention to them over the years as USC Upstate, Longwood and SEMO.
Pantherholic: "To be honest, I'm not sure how long I've even known IUPUI is in Indy. I've paid as little attention to them over the years as USC Upstate, Longwood and SEMO."
^^ That may have been part of the problem for the whole UWMilwaukee team and coaching staff this season as they apparently didn't seem to pay much attention to IUPUI and now their record against the Jaguars is 0 - 2 this season. In reading the comments about IUPUI that were posted on this board from earlier this season it is obvious that there was pretty much no one from Milwaukee posting that had any respect for IUPUI either (see examples in post 1 in this IUPUI thread). Oh well - I'm thinking they may remember them next year.