Chris Kingston said the first thing on his agenda when he officially begins his duties as Bowling Green State University’s athletics director is to make sure there is a coffee maker in his office.
|Chris Kingston makes a speech as BGSU's new Athletic Director June 10, 2013 at the Sebo Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
That’s after he pays his oldest daughter, Lakin, $100 for her suggestion for a new slogan and a call to action for BGSU — ‘Take the BG Falcon flight, the sky is not the limit.’
Kingston, who will turn 41 years old on June 26, was officially introduced as the 15th full-time athletics director at BGSU Monday afternoon. He will start his duties on July 15.
‘‘There are three components that make up the formula for success here at BGSU — people, resources, and opportunities,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘It’s as simple as that; there’s going to be some hard work ahead, but that’s how we’re going to get there. All these things are part of the formula that will launch us to grow our achievements.’’
One of Kingston’s main concerns is getting the BGSU athletics budget to the average in the Mid-American Conference
‘‘Given our high-caliber student-athletes, our facilities, our quality staff and coaches and our geographical location in the MAC, we will over-achieve by reaching the average operating budget in the MAC,’’ he said.
‘‘That said there are a number of ways we’ll accomplish this, through new and existing partnerships and I can tell you from experience there is a formula that works.’’
Currently the average budget in the MAC is approximately $25 million and Bowling Green is three to three and one-half million dollars below the average, Kingston said.
‘‘I believe that within four years we can get there to the average and then surpass it,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘We are already doing more with less and that’s another attractive thing about BG.’’
Kingston said there are opportunities for success for the Falcons in both the MAC and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
‘‘Some teams will have tremendous years right now and some will be there soon,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘My job is to insure we match their resources to our expectations.’’
Kingston replaces Greg Christopher who resigned in May to take a similar position at Xavier.
Most recently Kingston was the executive associate director of athletics at North Carolina State University. A graduate of the University of Central Florida and a 15-year Army veteran, Kingston was hired at North Carolina State in 2010 after spending four years in the athletics department at the U.S. Military Academy.
‘‘He is a results-oriented senior leader with experience in operational, strategic planning, analysis and execution,’’ Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, BGSU’s president, said about Kingston. ‘‘He knows how to develop innovative solutions to complex problems ... he has exceptional interpersonal and communication skills.’’
In addition to his military service, Kingston said he has also been a photographer at Sea World and a pizza delivery man, but he finally figured out what he wanted to do when he grew up and that’s an athletics director.
‘‘I know a lot of my friends they might take jobs just to be an AD, and I’m here to tell you that there are bad jobs out there,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘There are places that don’t have money and aren’t going to get money and have no way of getting money. There are places that don’t have facilities and have no shot at getting facilities.
‘‘I am going to tell you, that is not the case here,’’ he continued. ‘‘We’re cresting the hill here at BG and I’m terribly excited after the infrastructure that is in place, the leadership from President Mazey and the vision, and it’s a fabulous opportunity.
‘‘I’m looking for a place for my family and it’s Bowling Green.’’
Sherri Stoll, the chairman of the search committee, said there were many factors that brought Kingston to the forefront.
‘‘Breadth and depth of experience at a range of places. Being a U.S. veteran always catches your attention; he is accustomed to adversity, challenges,’’ Stoll said. “Leadership, he understands, whether it’s inside athletics or outside, the importance of that.
‘‘When you talk with him, you quickly begin to get the sense of — he has done a lot of homework on us; he came in terribly prepared,’’ she added. ‘‘You could sense pretty much right away, he was very interested in BG.’’
Having BGSU finish in the top 100 of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Directors Cup final standings year after year, is a goal for Kingston. Each institution is awarded points in a pre-determined number of sports for men and women for the Directors Cup.
‘‘That is the national standard for evaluating your athletic ability,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘A top 100 team means that you are in the top third in the country. If we are in the top third in the country, people ... will come to know the Orange and Brown and BG.’’
Kingston plans to get started right away next month, meeting with everybody in the athletics department.
‘‘I have a good blueprint; my experiences at my two previous institutions, could not have prepared me better to be at Bowling Green,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘I am going to find out what they need to do their job better and be more efficient and what’s realistic and how I can help them achieve that ... learning and listening that’s my first order of business.’’
When asked if the BG-Toledo rivalry compared to the Army-Navy rivalry, Kingston gave a politically correct answer.
‘‘I don’t like Navy. I don’t like the folks up north (Toledo) and I don’t like (North) Carolina,’’ Kingston said. ‘‘It’s a tremendous rivalry ... no matter what it is, we’re going to beat them; that’s our goal and I don’t care for them.’’
Kingston will have a five-year contract at $245,000 per year. The salary is just over the MAC average of $243,000 for an athletics director, according to a BGSU spokesman.