Who Should Become the next Director of Athletics at UTEP?
For the last 10 months, I have heard rumors that Bob Stull would either retire, be fired, or not have his contract renewed as UTEP athletic director. Despite the fact that some of these whispers came from inside the school’s athletic department, I refused to believe that a man that has been in charge of UTEP’s athletic department for nearly 20 years would not be able to decide when he can call it quits. In fact, as long as Dr. Diana Natalicio is UTEP’s President, I believe Stull will continue to work as AD even without a contract. When he feels the time is right to step down, do not be surprised if Stull stays with the school until his replacement has been hired.
Stull has been responsible for plenty of great things since he came back to El Paso to take over the athletic department in 1998. He secured enough money to build state-of-the-art football and basketball practice facilities, along with building a beautiful softball field nestled into the mountain. He also has been responsible for excellent coaching hires over the years, including Keitha Adams, Billy Gillispie, Tony Barbee, and Kevin Cross. Two of his most high-profile hires have been Mike Price and Tim Floyd. Price won immediately at UTEP and brought the football program national exposure it had lacked. Floyd is a disciple of Don Haskins and a coach that fans wanted back for years to bring stability to the men’s basketball program. Despite early success from Price and Floyd’s heralded return to El Paso, the Miners football team has not won a bowl game in 50 years and the men’s basketball team is on a 25-year drought since it’s last NCAA Tournament win. Some longtime UTEP supporters are patient and continue to pledge their support to Stull, while others have been waiting years for a change.
As we prepare for the start of the 2017 athletic season, Bob Stull is prepared to begin his 20th year as UTEP’s Director of Athletics. He has not given any indication that he plans to step down from his position and he is still focused on raising money for the Sun Bowl stadium renovations, something he has wanted to do for years. Stull has always been someone that I have enjoyed working with in a professional capacity because he has never shied away from radio interviews during the good and bad times at UTEP.
When the time does come for Stull to leave UTEP, who would be his replacement? Here are four individuals (in no particular order) that would be logical candidates to take over the Miners’ athletic department, along with brief bios and accomplishments.
He served under Stull as Senior Associate Athletic Director for five years before becoming AD at both UC Riverside and University of Louisiana Monroe. Wickstrom has developed a strong reputation as a fundraiser and he has been responsible for improvements in athletic facilities at both schools. At UTEP, Wickstrom was heavily involved with the planning, design and fundraising efforts for the state-of-the-art Foster Stevens Basketball Center. He is currently pursuing other opportunities since his contract with ULM expired on June 30th.
Since 2012, he has been the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and External Operations at UTEP. Prior to his time with the Miners, he spent six years at Texas State as Assistant Athletic Director and also worked in athletics at Sam Houston State and Texas A&M. Park has worked closely with Coach Tim Floyd, and he was instrumental in the 50th Anniversary celebration for the 1966 Championship team. He also organized the festivities from last year’s football game with Army, and he oversees marketing, ticketing, and Miners Athletic Club.
He was named Associate Vice President for athletics at Baylor in January. Dickey worked at UTEP under Mack Rhoades as Assistant Director for Athletics Development, and went with Rhoades to both Houston and Akron before joining him again at Baylor. During his time with UTEP, he managed and developed the Miner Athletic Club Annual Gift Fund, he successfully coordinated several projects, including a volunteer fund drive that resulted in nearly $400,000 in new season ticket sales and donations and a business campaign resulting in more than $40,000 in new contributions.
She is the current Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics at Northern Arizona University, a title she has held since leaving UTEP in 2012. Campos had spent six years as UTEP’s Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator. While with the Miners, Dr. Campos assisted with athletic facility enhancements and co-directed the planning and design of the $2.6 million Helen of Troy Softball Complex, which opened in September 2005. At the time of her hire at NAU, Campos became one of 26 females and the youngest in the country to lead a Division I program.