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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 1 16 done and we will support him as he tries to turn things around." Yet it is the work ethic and sense of self that John Kucia, Bobinski's di- rect-report boss at Xavier, thinks make him a leader. "We have all had experiences with carpetbaggers, people that come in and make promises," said Kucia, who has been in that executive vice president position for the Musketeers since 1990. "He will come and make no big promis- es. He will just get to work. Mike didn't make a habit of making big speeches to rooms full of people, he just let his work do the talking." Not Easily Rattled To function effectively as an athletic director in today's environment being thick-skinned is almost a prerequisite. After all, the job is multi-faceted and so very public. Bobinski doesn't shy away from tough questions, in fact he seems to welcome them. In the days after the Purdue an- nouncement, there were some negative rumblings in Atlanta from media cover- ing Georgia Tech. In just over three years at Tech, not every phase of the Yellow Jacket program was humming along, and even football coach Paul Johnson had expressed some frustration publicly with the speed that changes were being made to facilities and the like. After taking a few hits by Atlanta me- dia, Bobinski conducted an exit inter- view of sorts on Sports Radio 680 The Fan, the station that covers Tech in the market, and there were some tough questions thrown at him. He answered them all, and with a sense of humor. But why did he even agree to do the inter- view? "I am not sure why I did the inter- view," said Bobinski with a laugh. "I guess I did it because I don't believe in ducking things. I think being very straightforward and being who you are is just an easier way to go about the business and I have found people respect it. I don't do it to gain respect, I just do it because that's the way I'm wired." John Heisler, the senior associate athletic director at Notre Dame who worked with Bobinski at the school back in the 1980s, said this is not a new phe- nomenon. "Mike was always the calmest person in the room — I'm not sure I ever saw him get rattled or lose his cool," Heisler said. "He was always hugely competi- tive — that probably comes from being a pitcher. He always had a great feel for what it meant to do the right thing." Competitive To The Max Heisler's description of Bobinski's competitiveness is a common theme among those who know him best. Mike Simendinger, a third baseman for the Irish in the late 1970s, remembers his teammate's competitive glare, as it would appear from time to time during games. "I was a little bit erratic at fielding," said Simendinger, who played three seasons with Bobinski. "And, man, there was nowhere to hide when you made an error behind him. He would just about bury you with a look. "The good thing is Mike's competi- tive nature came forward in a very pos- itive, team-oriented way. He is just a super-competitive guy." Bobinski battled elbow troubles during his college career, but won games in each of his four seasons (1976-79) on the mound, sometimes willing his way to the levels of success he enjoyed. It is often said that you can discov- er how someone reacts to adversity while on the golf course. If that is the case, maybe that is the reason Bobinski hasn't been mesmerized by the game. All baseball players think they can golf, and Bobinski, at least at one time, thought he could, too. "Don't ask him to play golf," said Bubba Cunningham, the current North Carolina A.D. who worked with Bobins- ki in the late 1980s at Notre Dame and one of the few people who has seen Bo- binski unnerved. "The funniest thing I have ever seen playing golf was a time I was at the driving range with Mike. "Mike is really physically strong, and he takes a mighty cut at the golf ball. He hit one with his driver, and the club head snapped off and flew onto the practice range. He was furious and his face got so red. He teed up the very next ball with his 3 wood and did the exact same, snapping the head of second club. I had never seen that happen on succes- sive swings before or since and I almost fell over laughing. To this day I never let him live that down. Mike's tempera- ment is good for a lot of things, but golf isn't one of them." Xavier One of his top achievements in two decades as an athletic director was the role he played in opening Xavier's Cintas Center.

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