As William Broussard glanced at each of the speakers on hand for the Southern men’s basketball banquet last Friday, he noticed a common trait.
Most of the men on the dais had gray hair.
At 33, Broussard has none — but as the new athletic director at SU, he joked, he’ll probably join the fraternity soon. Maybe another month.
Donald Wade, the banquet emcee and former president of the SU Alumni Federation, had a better estimate.
“This is Southern,” Wade said. “It’s not going to take a month.”
Cue the laughter.
With or without the silver highlights, Broussard has been at Southern for almost 30 days now — and he has learned, among other things, that life would be a whole lot easier if each day magically lasted 36 hours instead of 24.
“At no point can I not find something to do,” Broussard said. “I need to find a way to be more efficient. Or sleep less. But that’s OK.”
When he spoke before the Board of Supervisors’ athletic committee last month, Broussard outlined his top three priorities for SU: fundraising, compliance and academic support.
“These first 30 days here have mirrored my priorities coming in,” Broussard said Wednesday.
A brief rundown:
F undraising : Earlier this month, Broussard sat with members of the Southern University System Foundation, getting what he called a “lay of the land” regarding current corporate sponsorships.
Broussard said he has also “planted seeds” with other local businesses, hoping to generate new revenue.
“There are several potential partnerships that we’ve never had,” he said.
C ompliance: When the NCAA certified Southern “with conditions” last year, its main concern with SU was in the area of gender equity, which encompasses everything from coaching personnel and scholarship allotments, facilities and roster sizes for women’s teams.
Broussard said Southern is working on a five-year master plan for gender equity and will submit it to the NCAA by June 1.
The main goal, he said, is to achieve true gender equity by “raising up, not chopping down.”
The athletic department dropped two sports in 2009, and although adding teams is still an option, Broussard said, the faster way toward gender equity is by adding athletes to teams already in place.
A cademics: In the past month, Broussard has spoken with officials at LSU and other schools, generating ideas on how SU can enhance its academic support for athletes.
“We’ve also been sitting with booster clubs, talking about the old things like cookout fundraisers for teams,” he said. “Some of the new-age thinking (involves) them helping with academic support.”
Meanwhile, Broussard has been very visible on campus. That’s not an accident.
He has enjoyed his job so far — but of course, it has only just begun.
Surely, some gray hair awaits.
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