On Thursday, April 17, Sean Johnson was the final of three candidates to visit Northern Michigan University for the athletic director position.
Johnson held an open forum for students and the community in the University Center. Johnson is currently the senior associate athletics director for external operations at the University of North Dakota.
Before UND, he was the associate athletics director of external operations and sports information director at the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Some of the topics Johnson talked about were keeping the USOEC in place at NMU and adding sports like men’s swimming and diving and women’s hockey.
Johnson said he was thrilled with the ability to bring different people to the campus and NMU should reach out to the USOEC directors in Colorado Springs.
“It’s not just about the facilities but the people as well.” Johnson said. “Let’s get as many people here and show them all what we have to offer here.”
Johnson said he is very impressed with the recreational sports involvement from NMU students.
“One of the greatest things is the ability to bring people on campus and be able to participate,” Johnson said. “The fact that kids can still compete, even though they may not be elite enough to compete at that elite Division I level is great.”
Johnson said that he is extremely competitive and he carries that into the workplace.
“Plan for success and expect to win,” Johnson said. “I expect our coaches and players to want to win just as bad as I do.”
Johnson said focusing on developing students as not only athletes, but as people for when they go into the workforce is key.
“We all remember the first time we went to college and we thought we had the tiger by the tail,” Johnson said. “This campus does a great job welcoming students and getting them involved in things like Superior Edge.”
Johnson said winning consistently and producing not only wins, but good students and great human beings is important.
“Retaining coaches and athletes for four years is crucial,” Johnson said.
Johnson said money isn’t going to just be given to the school, and generating revenue and creating opportunities to raise money is essential.
“Every school struggles with this,” Johnson said. “We need to get out there and raise money to advance our programs.”
Johnson said being proud to be a part of Northern Michigan needs to be more important to students, and all former Wildcats should want to be at sporting events.
“NMU is Marquette’s professional team,” Johnson said. “The alumni and the boosters need to know they are also involved and valued by everyone in our department.”
To leave comments on the Johnson forum, visit www.nmu.edu/sports/ADFeedback.