College notes: Q&A with WMU's Kathy Beauregard
This is the second in a weekly series of quick-hit Q&As catching up with the state's Division I athletic directors. Up this week:
Western Michigan's Kathy Beauregard, a Kalamazoo native and Loy Norrix High School alum who's the longest-tenured athletic director in the Mid-American Conference. She got the job in 1997.
Beauregard spoke to The News on Wednesday night, prior to WMU Night at Comerica Park.
■ Question: What has all the on-field success over the last year or so, especially the football team's appearance in the Cotton Bowl, meant for not just the athletic department, but the university and the city of Kalamazoo?
■ Answer: It is absolutely invaluable to us, the amount of exposure that we've been able to get out of our athletic department. The marketing is enormous, especially when you look here. We came here to Detroit. Two-thirds of our student population comes from this area, the same with our alumni. I walked in here tonight and I had people yell, 'Row the Boat!' Then you go nationally, and people now know who you are. That has been really a goal of ours forever, it's to just really get Western Michigan not only to be known as a directional school.
■ Q: You have two WMU presidents here tonight, the outgoing one, John Dunn, a huge sports fan, and the incoming one, Edward B. Montgomery, the "Auto Czar" under President Obama. How important is a cohesive relationship between athletics and administration?
■ A: It's really important. I'm a part of the senior leadership team with the president. I think it's important to be involved in all of these meetings. I've spent my entire career at Western, so I care more about not just athletics, but the entire university. And anytime we benefit, they do, and the same thing.
■ Q: Given the recent success of football, hockey, baseball and several other sports, is this the Golden Era of Broncos athletics?
■ A: No, that's really a high point. It's kind of hard over 100 years. I would definitely say the Mid-American Conference is in a great place right now, but Western Michigan is also. We've had some great other teams, so it's hard to compare. Sometimes comparing eras, or sports that change, or things that happened, but I would say right now, the collaboration that we have with our student-athletics all together, the relationships and the exposure that we have made nationally — like the "College GameDay" experience that we had. Those are things that we've been able to do that we haven't in the past. But we always aim for better, we always aim for more.
■ Q: You lost your football coach, P.J. Fleck, to Minnesota, and in the process, there were some hurt feelings, especially given he was so close to a contract extension and he flipped some recruits, and also had contact with at least one member of the current WMU team — a minor NCAA violation. You had a great relationship with him when he was coach. How is it now?
■ A: The entire process went just so fast, and he'd be one of the first to talk about change, and change is never easy. It's hard. Obviously, the relationship we had was tremendous, in working together and working for the same goals and objectives, but I also knew there was going to be a day when he was going to move on. Whether it was gonna happen the way it did, as quickly as it did, I think that sometimes does draw emotion. We certainly are much better off after his time at Western Michigan. We'll continue. We're so excited to have Tim Lester back, he's home with us, and certainly we wish Coach Fleck and all his staff and the team the best.
■ Q: You just celebrated 20 years on the job, after a long coaching career at Western Michigan. How much longer do you want to stay as AD of the Broncos?
■ A: You know, I want to continue in this job as long as they want me. I love it at Western Michigan. We still have goals to achieve and I'm just as motivated as I have ever been. As long as they still want me to continue what I do, that's where I want to be.
Next week’s Q&A will be with new Central Michigan athletic director Michael Alford.
UM women's basketball lands recruit
Michigan women's basketball, coming off the WNIT championship and a 28-9 record, landed a big recruit last week in Amy Dilk of Carmel, Ind.
She tweeted on June 22: "VERY excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at the University of Michigan!"
Dilk, a 5-foot-9 point guard, is listed as a four-star recruit by ESPN, and is considered one of the top prospects in the country for the Class of 2018. ESPNW ranks her 39th in the country for the Class of 2018.
In an evaluation from the May 2016 Nike Midwest Showdown, ESPN's Dan Olson writes: "Confident, cerebral floor-leader runs the show, distributes in transition; agile in uptempo game, collapses defenses under control; mid-range game creator extends to the arc; game manager."
Dilk, consider the top point guard out of Indiana, averaged about 17 points during her junior season, which included at least one triple-double.
She did miss participating in an Indiana All-Star Game earlier this month because of an injury. Dilk also was heavily recruited by Louisville.
MSU gymnastics coach named
Michigan State has promoted Mike Rowe to head gymnastics coach, after he took over as interim coach in February following the resignation of longtime coach Kathie Klages amid the dozens of sexual-abuse allegations against Dr. Larry Nassar.
Rowe spent the previous three years as an assistant coach. Michigan State alum Nicole Curler was promoted to associate head coach.
Klages coached 27 seasons before stepping down, days after one of Nassar's alleged victims said she went to Klages about the assaults, but nothing was done. That was the second women who allegedly warned Klages in the 1990s.
Klages allegedly told one of the victims "there is no reason to bring up Nassar's conduct." She hasn't responded to messages from The News, but her attorney told the paper in February, "She would never do anything to put any of them in harm’s way."
This and that
Ben Presnell, entering his sixth season with Central Michigan football, has been promoted to director of football operations. He had been director of player personnel. A Mount Pleasant native, he is a Central Michigan alum (two degrees) and son of longtime Chippewas assistant coach Plas Presnell.
... Wayne State has a new coach for men's and women's cross country and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and it's Grant Lofdahl. A Holland, Mich., native, he comes from Lake Erie College, and is a Grand Valley State alum.
... Detroit Mercy is set to host a men's golf tournament for the first time since 2013, the Titan Motown Collegiate on Oct. 16-17 at Prestwick Village Golf Club, a private facility in Highland.