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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Additional quotes from new Oakland AD Jeff Konya

Here some additional quotes and comments from Jeff Konya and Betty Youngblood from Monday's press conference. For the main article on the hiring, click here.

Jeff Konya
On how his previous work as an AD will help at Oakland
“When I was a senior associate athletic director I thought I knew the job. Once you sit in the chair and experience the calamity and the totality of everything you face… you can wake up one day and think you are going to do one thing and then you quickly have to pivot and think on your toes and be real receptive, almost like triage response.”
On how Oakland is viewed nationally
“I think (Oakland) is like a 12-year-old that is too big for its body. When it figures it out, watch out. That is really what I believe in terms of the potential and the opportunities here. I think the recent move to the Horizon League is a real eye-opener. It is such a well-regarded conference from a national perspective and I think that relationship is only going to prov
e to be very, very beneficial to the athletic department.”
On Oakland’s partnership with the Horizon League
“We experienced at Bakersfield, with joining the Western Athletic Conference, that the first year is kind of a learning curve. Every conference has its own nuisances and style of play, but now that that evolution has taken place, I believe for all the teams that finish in the top third of the conference, that puts you in a good position to make the postseason.”
On balancing all the OU sports
“I do think you need to maximize your potential in the revenue sports, but at the same time you need to have a relevant experience for your student athletes that are participating in the Olympic sports or individual sports. We want to have them have experiences that makes them proud to wear the university logo and proud to represent Oakland University and the Horizon League.”
On his early challenges with the position
“There is a lot of strategic planning. I think there is a lot of opportunity, with some of the infrastructure, to really move the needle. Development, marketing, those kind of things. I think also to work with the coaches and staff and be more collaborative and engage with them on a daily basis. I think that is going to be really beneficial to getting that family atmosphere.”
On if he will look into adding more sports
“I haven’t really gotten into it, but I know that in the region there are some sports that may make sense for Oakland University. I am open to any sport offerings. I think the more sports and more student athlete experiences you can offer as an institution only enhances your image and your long-term growth as a university.”

Betty Youngblood
On what stood about most about Konya
“I think the fact that he has been able to make things happen. He is a terrific fundraiser, terrific supporter of student and coaches and the entire university community. He really understands the inner relationships between academics and athletics. He has done a great job in the past and we know he will do a great job at OU.”
On Konya taking the job without OU having a president in place
“Jeff has had a lot of success. Any president would be delighted to have him.”
On the quality of candidates for the job
“We had extremely strong candidates. The committee interviewed close to a dozen candidates in what we call ‘airport interviews’ and then they narrowed the field to three finalists. I know that narrowing was challenging for them because we had many, many strong candidates.”
On how Oakland’s partnership with the Horizon League strengthened the opening
“All the candidates were very pleased with that kind of move. They know it is important to the university. We are delighted to be part of the Horizon League. Jeff has a great understanding of numerous leagues across the country and has followed the Horizon League very, very carefully.”

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