Secrets of Success

May 29, 2018

Jamie Pollard, Athletic Director of Iowa State University, recently discussed his experiences on the job and shared some advice for others.

According to KU Sports, Pollard, who was hired in the 2005-6 academic year, said the position has changed a great deal during his time at the job, and it can be challenging to “be everything to everybody.”

“I think one of the hardest things about the job this day and age is just being able to balance the expectations because of the immediacy of feedback,” he said. “There's no buffer any longer so the runway for things, when they're not going well, gets really short and that just puts so much more pressure on being able to stay true to your values and being able to do what you believe is the right thing to do.”

Pollard described two traits that he believes are necessary for those in charge of large NCAA Division I athletic departments.

“Number 1, you absolutely have to be a good fit for your institution and your culture,” Pollard said. “That may be the single biggest deal. Just because somebody's successful somewhere else does not mean they're going to be successful in a new job if they can't fit that culture.

“I would say No. 2 is it's a big business so having somebody that can analyze really well is important. Because you can't be paralyzed. You have to be able to analyze and make decisions. You're not going to make every decision right. No one does. But can you overcome that by being able to analyze and make the best decisions possible?”

Further, he talks about creating an atmosphere that fosters success. Pollard explains that while athletic directors are responsible for many duties, particularly fundraising, having a good culture can't be ignored.

“We've created a culture where the people, they were there with us,” Pollard said “They knew it was going to be a tough road to travel and now they're finally getting their pay off. But it's because we've been in it together.”

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