Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk took the helm of the program last month.
Hired Sept. 4, he took over from Jack Lengyel after four-plus years as AD at the University of Houston. He is the third Navy athletic director in the past 33 years, following J.O. "Bo" Coppedge and Lengyel, who announced his retirement in July after 13 years in the position. Gladchuk also headed the athletic programs at Boston College and Tulane.
What is your overall goal for the 30-sport program, one of the biggest nationally?
A little of this is going to be first impression. I've always looked at the Naval Academy as being the premier military institute of higher learning with a stature that is very special. I think every effort needs to be made to project that stature on a national basis, certainly through our football program.
I'm very impressed with what our Olympic sport coaches have done, the All-Americans, the championships, the NCAA appearances. Obviously, football is the most visible. In terms of aspirations, it's going to be really important to the morale of those on the yard and in the community, both alumni and fans, that the football program achieve a level of success that's reasonable.
We should be a leader in everything we do. I really believe if we get the football program squared to a degree, the rest of it just kind of accentuates the positives that happen around football through the other programs.
The only downside to a program of this size is the ability to create a more personalized environment. There are so many people going in so many different directions it's tough to constantly communicate with everyone. How thin can you spread the administration, the athletic director, in terms of being there for everyone all the time? That's what motivates me, but it is impossible to do with 30 sports. It's not a problem. We're well-run, well-organized, the teams are successful, details are being attended to.
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is undergoing a $40 million renovation. You have wide experience in facilities' construction. How involved will you be here?
Very much so. I've met with the architects and academy administration. They're looking to me for insights, advice, counsel, leadership in the development of a plan. What I appreciate is the open opportunity to formulate new ideas, make changes, maybe create some new options. The stadium renovation project isn't that far down the road that it's impossible to amend certain things. What we're looking for is the most cost-efficient way to get the biggest bang for our buck. I've already made some recommendations.
Are you satisfied that the women's program is in compliance with all requirements?
We just did a gender equity report that's required each year. Our participation rates of our women in intercollegiate athletics pretty much mirrors that of the overall enrollment percentages. ... Resources need to be somewhat equitable, and if you take a look at the way we treat our women in terms of recruiting budgets, travel budgets and support staff, all that is intact. The facilities have all been built with gender equity clearly in mind, and the future plans for facility development are appropriately addressing that. My first blush is that we are clearly positioned that equitable treatment of our athletes is in pretty good shape.
Fund raising is known as one of your strengths. Do you see any avenues for collecting more financial support?
The biggest thing I bring to the table is my enthusiasm for that dimension of the job. I've raised monies all my life. I'm proud of the fact that I've had some real legitimate, documented success. We're structured a little bit differently here in that they're very organized with regard to development activities. All the fund raising and solicitations are orchestrated through and coordinated by the foundation, unlike at the other institutions, where athletics was more of an auxiliary enterprise and you were pretty much a ship on your own bottom out there, trying to keep it afloat. Here, if I'm going to ask somebody for monies, they're not going to get hit six different ways by six different departments. ...
What I'm looking forward to is working with the foundation, bringing energies to the alumni organizations and to supplement the efforts of the superintendent and commandant and others and help them achieve their goals. It's a little bit different to what I'm used to, but that's fine. I'm going to be a team player.
You stated you hoped for more community involvement and wanted to be sensitive to nearby neighborhoods. Can you elaborate?