The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson
Editor 

Candidate envisions ENMU as full of potential

 

Last updated 6/26/2021 at 4:44pm

Kevin Wilson

Brock Wissmiller discusses his path to college athletics Friday at Greyhound Arena. Wissmiller, the associate athletic director at Upper Iowa University, is one of four applicants for the athletic director position at Eastern New Mexico University.

PORTALES - If Brock Wissmiller could invent a time machine, he probably wouldn't need to hold any job, let alone be an athletic director.

But the associate AD of Upper Iowa University said a team's 20-year reunion would be the best indicator of what a program did. Are they on campus celebrating a title, or are they at a restaurant in another city bonding over hatred of their coach?

Wissmiller took a few trips through time during his public interview to become the next AD at Eastern New Mexico University. He is the third of four candidates for the vacant AD position. The university had previously interviewed former University of New Mexico men's basketball coach Paul Weir and Pittsburg State Senior Associate Athletic Director Nate Davis.

Bethel College Athletic Director Tony Hoops is scheduled to visit Portales Wednesday with an 8:30 a.m. meet-and-greet at Courthouse Cafe and a 9:30 a.m. public interview at Greyhound Arena Room 7.

The hiring decision goes to Chancellor Patrice Caldwell, with the selection committee providing a list of strengths and weaknesses for each candidate.

Wissmiller told a Greyhound Arena crowd about how an injury and a vision led him into college athletics. He was a three-sport star in high school, and planned to play college baseball until he suffered a spinal concussion during his senior football season. As he laid in that hospital bed, Wissmiller said he had a vision of playing catch with his future son. It wasn't what most 17-year-olds think about, he admitted, but he wanted that vision to become reality.

He parlayed a broadcasting education at Western Illinois into a college athletics career, and the vision became reality when he and his son went to the "Field of Dreams" cornfield and had a game of catch.

"To me, that's the power of vision," Wissmiller said. "You're in a position to do that."

Wissmiller, who never envisioned himself as an athletic director until the last few years, said he envisions ENMU as a spot full of potential in the 18-team Lone Star Conference he considers the class of Division II and one where anybody should want to belong.

The LSC, he said, is one of those conferences that always seems to have the largest slate of teams in every national tournament.

"We don't have to win in every (conference tournament or regular season)," Wissmiller said. "We have to complete and be in the top three or four spots."

When asked what he would do with his first 100 days on campus, Wissmiller said his three main values were honestly, communication and learning. "If I'm doing the first two, it's going to lead to the third one." He felt like putting down a 10-point plan would be irresponsible on his part, because he might find out on Day 10 that something he mandated on Day 1 was a waste of time.

Other questions fielded by Wissmiller included:

• The role of an athletic department. Wissmiller said the goal should be to make student-athletes successful in life with the skills they learned in the classrooms and on their athletic teams. A student-athlete, he said, often has to problem solve - i.e. staying current in class even though the road trip cost you an in-person lecture.

• How he would handle ENMU's slate of new coaches entering 2021-22. Wissmiller said he has frequently mentored new coaches during his 10 years at Upper Iowa, and he doesn't get into game plans because that's what they were hired to do. "You're the coach of coaches," Wissmiller said. "It isn't about X's and O's. I want to know how you're treating your people. I want to know what you do from a character standpoint."

• Keeping students accountable as part of a small community. Wissmiller said you have to remember you were once 18 years old and should expect 18-year-olds to make some mistakes, but it's your responsibility as a leader to show them how they impact the world around them.

 
 

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