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Q&A: ENMU's new AD discusses move to Portales

Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of interviews with local officials. Kevin Fite was recently named athletic director at Eastern New Mexico University. He most recently worked at Oklahoma State University where he was senior associate athletics director for compliance. 

Q: What was the hiring process like?

A: I was looking for an opportunity, and I live in Oklahoma and I was wanting to stay as close as I could to my daughter who attends University of Oklahoma. I'm just a little bit more comfortable in this part of the country.

When that job came available, I did a little research about the institution, they had a search firm working on it and I talked to the representative with the search firm. I liked things I heard from him about what they were trying to do, and what the skill set they were looking for in the athletic director, and it very much sounded like my strengths would fit in well there. 

Q: What were they looking for?

A: Well, I think they were looking for somebody to, I guess, be a strong leader and connect the athletic department stronger with the university.

I think they just felt as though someone needed to come in and work on that. And I've had a little experience in that just because working in compliance as I'd done at the University of Houston and Oklahoma State, you're often having to deal with the financial aid office, registrar's office, the bursar's office, and an academic advisor.

So I've gone through that process of building that trust between athletics and the regular side of campus. I felt like that was something that I could bring to the table and help there.

Q: I know, you spent a long time at Oklahoma State, how long have you been looking for a new opportunity?

A: About a year.

Q: What made you want to look for something beyond what you were doing at the time?

A: I felt it was time to make a change. You've seen the change at Division I, it just didn't fit with my interests anymore.

Q: Are you able to kind of expand on that?

A: In college athletics, especially at the Division I level, it's changed a lot lately, and you know, with name, image and likeness, and the transfer portal and I think a general change in philosophy I've always been about the educational part of the process.

And so I think that's kind of de-emphasized at the Division I level at least in my view.

And so I didn't want to de-emphasize that for me, personally and what I wanted to do. So Division II seemed like a better fit for me.

Q: Looking ahead to next year, what are some of the things you're kind of looking to implement?

A: Well, I think it's too early for me to come out and say anything like that. I've got to get on campus and work with people and understand what is what, and what our needs are before I can start saying that.

Really the first few months are going to be an assessment for me to see what we have and what we need and what direction I'd like to take it.

Q: What makes you feel passionate about this?

A: Well, that's kind of been my whole career. It's something I believe in. I'm excited about the opportunity to lead the department. I think we have good coaches and good staff. And we have an administration on campus that is supportive.

And I think we have a fan base that is growing. And I hope to see more people out and we implement some things that will get them to football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer games -- everything.

- Compiled by Matt Weiner, The Staff of The News