New UMaine AD Meets The Press
UMaine's new Director of Athletics Ken Ralph had already said hello to the soccer team as players jumped on a bus headed for Vermont and checked out a field hockey team practice before he met the media at mid-morning in Orono.
After 11 years as AD at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Ralph called the UMaine job 'a perfect fit' and a 'coming home' for him.
He is a Salem, New Hampshire native who was a college swimmer at TCU in Texas and then at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After coaching swimming at the college level, Ralph got into administration and spent six years as athletic director at RPI in New York before the Colorado job.
Among the topics discussed at his first press conference on the UMaine campus...
On leaving CC for Orono: 'I had a spectacular 11 year run at Colorado College...much like here in Maine it is a very people oriented place...there is an opportunity to move the needle here'.
On UMaine sports around the state: 'Black Bear sports matter...we have to run our business in a manner that makes all residents in the state feel proud to call the Black Bears their team'.
On changes that may be needed: 'for me to come in and make big changes is a bit arrogant and I won't do that. I need to take some time to look at the whole enterprise'.
On facility needs: 'It's easy to walk around and say this needs to be better or that needs to be better. We need to put together a long term facilities plan'.
On fundraising: 'I've been fortunate to land to some major gifts in my time as AD but I can't tell you that every one was my work. It takes a team'.
On differences between CC and UMaine: 'It's a bigger department, going from 51 employees to 92. The budget at Maine is about double. I am also going from a private school to a state institution'.
On his hobbies away from the job: 'I really enjoy playing golf. I don't play it as much as I should. I enjoy mountain biking as a way to clear my head. And, I'm an avid reader'.
NOTE: Hear more from the neew UMaine athletic director during Friday's 'Morning Pitch Show' at 6am on Sports Radio 92.9 The Ticket.