Michael introduced as EIU athletic director

Published 07/22 2014 06:12PM

Updated 07/22 2014 10:46PM

CHARLESTON, Ill. - Eastern Illinois officially introduced Tom Michael as it's new athletic director Tuesday afternoon.  Michael has spent the last 18 years working at the University of Illinois - most recently as senior associate AD, overseeing the State Farm Center renovation project.  But on a day of excitement with many of his colleagues, coaches, family and friends in attendance, Michael got choked up thinking about the one person who couldn't be there - his father Bob, who passed away 15 years ago on this very day.

"He was certainly an athletic and a sports guy," Michael said of his father.  "He coached me in basketball. I started going to his practices at three years old.  I know that he would have been very proud for this day.  I think in a sense that I know that he was here too."

Michael's father drove him to Eastern Illinois University for his first overnight basketball camp when he was twelve years old.  His father was on his mind Tuesday - years later - and thinks about those characteristics his father instilled in him to help him get where he is today.

"[A] hard work ethic, a sense of right and wrong," Michael said.  "Who we are as individuals and how you represent yourself.  Both he and my mom obviously did a great job of raising us."
Now Michael will try to raise the bar at EIU using some of those same characteristics, while leading the Panthers.  He outlined three key messages at his introductory news conference: planning for comprehensive excellence, enhancing the student-athlete experience, and engaging the community in a meaningful way.

"I will start as any new employee does, with eyes wide open, a bunch of questions, and an attentive ear," Michael said.  "In the days ahead I will be listening and learning.  I cannot wait to get to work."

Michael will assume his role as Eastern Illinois athletic director on August 11.

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