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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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Page 55 of 87

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 56 "Being in Phoenix for the Final Four and being in places like Kansas City and Milwaukee, I could see all the former players gravitating and hovering around the program, and that is a really cool thing. The very best programs are that way. You go back to Carolina and the former players are there playing pick-up (basketball). That's what happens there. We want to present ourselves that way. "One of the really nice features about being back in the Midwest is that there is a nice Midwestern humility. That is a really good thing until it's not. If there is too much of it, you can become invisible. I think it is about striking a balance between that and aggressively telling our story. I hate the term 'self-promoting,' but that is what recruit- ing is. It is sales. When you are trying to close that deal, you have to have a bit of swagger about you." Gold and Black: How much do you feel a respon- sibility to connect with all of the student-athletes, given that there are so many of them? Bobinski: "It is one of the things that makes this job unique. It is fun to meet all of these young people and meet as many of them as you can, but it is not easy. You've got 500-plus that are always doing something and moving from here to there. I know that Morgan Burke was great at that, and I haven't even scratched the sur- face of getting together with certain teams more often. You can get to know them if you travel on the road with them, and that is something I want to do more of. As these spring seasons continue, I want to do more of that and then continue that as the fall sports roll around. It is very rewarding because there are so many different stories and backgrounds that you get to know. Every ath- lete that I have gotten to know so far has made me proud that I can say they represent Purdue University. They are really great young people. It makes you feel good about everything we have going on." Gold and Black: You played baseball in college at Notre Dame. Does that affect your perspective on Olympic sports as an athletic director? Bobinski: "To me, having been an Olympic sport ath- lete, you struggled to get a breath with football taking most of the attention. I have an understanding for what it is like to be in the less-bright spotlight. Everyone wants to succeed and win and also meet the same academic stan- dards, so it is definitely my role to help them achieve that success and get those results. I just love watching young people compete. It could be in anything. I just think there is value in that. The process of trying to be really good at something is the beauty of what sport provides." Gold and Black: Mark Wasikowski, the baseball coach, was hired before you got here, but he seems like he is your type of guy. He had heard it would be difficult to win and get resources, but he has said he doesn't feel like that is the case. He feels like he can ask for things. How do you view what he has done so far? Bobinski: "I think he has done a great job. He and his coaches have really re-energized the group of guys and are squeezing everything they can out of them. The amount of teaching that goes on during practices is high, and he is a very energetic and enthusiastic guy who coaches them hard and in an appropriately positive way. He gets after it and, from a recruiting perspective, he has made some significant in-roads, which is what it is all about at the end of the day. That was his M.O. coming into this. He was known as being a skilled and effective recruiter. The assumption that he couldn't be that due to the avail- ability of resources here is something you don't want to lead with. Every place has its weaknesses, but I feel like almost every school deals with certain things. We have certain things unique to our environment, as does every other school." Gold and Black: How do you shake that stereo- type? Bobinski: "When it is out there, what really matters is how our people live it and feel about it. They are the ones who can deliver the accurate message about what Purdue is and can be for someone. There are always folks who will say that you didn't get a certain player because of certain resource limitations and that is just an incor- rect statement. There are athletes that shouldn't be in at every school. There is nothing in our environment at Purdue that gets in the way in that perspective. Anyone who says that is just making excuses. I will not tolerate excuses because there is always a way. You just have to find it." j

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