Behind the scenes with Scott Kilgallon

Story by Ryan Spoehr, Copy Editor

Earlier this week, The Spectator’s Ryan Spoehr sat down with Scott Kilgallon who is in his ninth year as UW-Eau Claire athletic director. He came from Southern Vermont University where he was their Men’s and Women’s Cross Country coach and athletic director simultaneously.

RS: You came from Vermont. Talk about the differences between Vermont and here in Eau Claire.

SK: Well, Vermont where I was, when I got there, they were not in the NCAA, so you had to build a program up from scratch. And interestingly enough, it was the smallest school in Division III with about 350 students and now you’ve gone to one of the largest with 11,000 students.

You know, both have the same thing. You want to provide your student athletes with a great experience and of course the challenge at Southern Vermont was to get the athletic programs up and running.

RS: So during the day when you are working as athletic director, what are some of the things that you do?
What makes up your day?

SK: Well, I’d say just in the short time you’ve been here, you heard the phone ring a couple times and people stopping in. One of the things I do is I have an open-door policy. You get a scheduled meeting, but unless it is a personnel issue I always have the door open. Coaches know and students know to come in and talk with me.

RS: What are some of the
decisions you have to make on a
regular basis?

SK: Personnel is always (a decision to make). You’ve got about 65 rapports with adjunct (and) full-time coaches. Personnel is always going to have something and that’s not always negative. It’s just
sometimes somebody needs a pick-me-up.

RS: What do you foresee for the program short-term and long-term?

SK: The foundation has really been laid right now. I mean, when you have 12-15 teams making it to nationals that’s pretty good. It’s excellent actually. Typical schools may get one every five years. Sometimes I think people take that
for granted.

But, we don’t know which team is going to have that exceptional season this year. I have to say that carefully because you don’t want to put too much pressure on the teams. You know it’s not all weighted on NCAA tournaments. Ideally in this conference, it’s kind of accepted that’s what you’re doing right now.

RS: Homecoming is coming up. What makes Homecoming so special on this campus compared to other Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schools or even
UW-Madison?

SK: I think the big thing about
Homecoming is that we have most of our student athletes, if they aren’t competing they are actually helping us.

Football is the big event. I think probably the best thing is getting all the alumni back here and when they come here (and see) the quality of play on the field and the marching band, which is pretty phenomenal there, everyone has a chance to be really proud of what we
do here.