Meet the Director of Athletics candidates :: Carl Clapp

Aug. 27, 2012

The four finalists for the Director of Athletics position at Montana will be on campus this week, and will be providing an inside look at each candidate the same day he is on campus. Today we feature Carl Clapp, currently the associate AD at Hawaii.

Read Clapp’s full bio here.

Why did you apply to be the next Director of Athletics at Montana?

I applied for the position, first and foremost, because the University of Montana is a great place, both in terms of the university and the outstanding athletic program. There is so much opportunity to build on everything that is already here and use the great support for the program to help it move forward.

I also enjoy a challenge, and I think one of the things the University of Montana wants to do is build an intercollegiate athletics program that reaches even greater heights. I don’t enjoy sitting still myself, so with everyone working together we could really do a lot of great things.

What makes you a one of the four finalists for the position?

The number one thing I would bring to the University of Montana is experience. I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a number of various roles, including 14 years as an athletics director and another 10 as a top assistant.

In all those different experiences I’ve had, I’ve worked significantly on both the internal side of an athletic program and the external side. As athletic director, you are responsible for all of it, so based on my experiences I would feel very comfortable bringing all the different stakeholders and supporters who are interested in Montana Athletics together and keeping everyone moving in one direction.

Also I’m very comfortable with my fiscal experience and my background in revenue generation and being efficient and effective in using whatever resources may be available.

I’m also very comfortable in the area of compliance, whether that mean federal or state laws or the NCAA’s, conference’s or university’s rules. I am very confident in my ability to lead in that area, always with integrity.

Finally I think I’d bring a lot of energy and passion to the job. I’m a person who has a great deal of energy and a lot of passion for what I’m working on. I can picture the opportunity to join this team as being a tremendous one for me.

Montana has been without a Director of Athletics since March. What would be your top priorities in your first month on the job?

My top priority would be to be an active listener, and that really would be a priority throughout my opportunity to serve the University of Montana. I would want to come in and really listen to the various stakeholders and constituencies who have been supporting this program and have brought it to where it is today, which is really a terrific place.

I would then evaluate what I hear and start building a short-term, maybe 90-day plan of the first things that need to be done in order to get us moving forward.

Some of the things I hear might be challenges for the next year or even beyond a year. And those things would begin to work their way into a strategic plan that gets put together with various stakeholders.

Given what you know about Montana, what are the challenges you see in the decade ahead?

There are two areas where we’d need to keep our eye on the ball, the first being internal. From what I understand, there appear to be some needs related to enhancing facilities and enhancing the student-athlete academic experience and the support in that area.

Of course in intercollegiate athletics it’s always coming down to more resources and the question of where can you generate that revenue?

The next thing we would need to keep an eye on is the NCAA, conference realignment and the television money that is changing intercollegiate athletics. You always want to be prepared if there are opportunities that become available that can help enhance the reputation of the university. If they are out there, those are things you always want to look at.

What is your favorite part of being an athletics administrator?

I love every minute of it, but I think one of the most fun parts is on the weekends when you can get out to the various venues and actually watch the student-athletes compete and watch the types of things they learn through their intercollegiate athletics experience.

The University of Montana provides an outstanding education for these young people. Athletics then adds a great laboratory experience where they are able to learn more about themselves, about self-discipline, about teamwork and how to respond to both adversity and success in appropriate ways.

As you put all of it together, basically you have a mission statement for Montana Athletics, which is preparing young people for life.

What is the most memorable moment of your career?

One of the things I’m proudest of is the fact that in my previous two athletic director positions (at St. Mary’s and the University of Redlands), the gentlemen that I recruited to be my No. 2 in the department are still there today working at those institutions as the athletic director. That both are minorities makes me even prouder.

It tells me we went in there, we put in a good plan, and they are still working the plan. So I’m really proud of what we were able to do at those places.

One of my highlights had to be Hawaii going to the Sugar Bowl and playing in a BCS bowl game (on New Year’s Day in 2008). It was a whole lot of fun, until Georgia took the field on the other side. (Georgia ended Hawaii’s perfect season, 41-10.)

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