He's got big shoes to fill. But he's a most unique situation, too. Dan Bartholomae was introduced Thursday as Western Michigan University's new Athletic Director. He moves into the position after the retirement of Kathy Beauregard, who was in the job a quarter of a century.

But while many schools in the same position as Western are dealing with financial crises, WMU does have the luxury of last year's record-setting donation, some of which is earmarked for the athletic department.

Bartholomae spoke of a desire to focus on “comprehensive excellence” for Bronco athletics. To that end, he said he's going to spend the two to three months listening and talking to the various people and groups related to the athletic department.

"We will champion our student-athletes as they pursue their athletic, academic and life goals; we will serve as incredible partners within the University and to our fans and supporters; and we will empower our athletic department staff and coaches in achieving our goals together. This is a great day to be a Bronco, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work!" - WMU Athletic Director Dan Bartholomae.


(Western Michigan Bronco Athletics via YouTube)

Bartholomae is already an experienced administrator, and when he was hired it seemed every story mentioned the job he did in getting (previous employer) Oregon State's football stadium rebuilt, it does ask the question, is an upgrade to some of the facilities in Kalamazoo something that might be in the school's and city's future. Speculation about a downtown arena has been talked about for several decades, but it appeared that Western would have to be a part of a facility like that. With the recent windfall, and with some stakeholders, maybe, more interested than others in making this happen, the timing could be right.

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