"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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