AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University has hired the deputy athletic director at the University of Wisconsin to replace Bruce Van De Velde, who announced last month he would step down as athletic director.
Jamie Pollard has been at Wisconsin since 2003, helping manage 23 sports and a budget of $72 million. With athletic director Barry Alvarez also serving as Wisconsin’s football coach, Pollard has been running the department’s day-to-day operations.
ISU President Gregory Geoffroy said Pollard will begin Oct. 1.
“I didn’t just want to be an athletic director. I wanted to be an athletic director at the right time and in the right place,” Pollard said. “This is the right time and the right place.”
Pollard has a degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he was the 1987 NCAA Division III national champion in the 5,000-meter run.
Pollard and his wife, Ellen, have four children, Thomas, Annie, Maggie and James.
“My vision for this program is to build on a very strong foundation that’s already in place and to tap into what I see as tremendous potential to have a program that stands for athletic excellence but also achieve academic excellence,” he said.
Van De Velde, who has been athletic director since Nov. 15, 2000, promised to stay on until a successor was announced. He came from Oklahoma, where he had served as senior associate athletic director.
At his Aug. 8 resignation, Van De Velde said he had turned the department around, and it was time for the university to seek a new director.
Van De Velde managed 18 sports and an annual budget of $29 million, one of the smallest in the Big 12 Conference.
“I don’t find that daunting,” Pollard said. “Iowa State has a lot of positives.”
Pollard said he and his family visited Ames on Labor Day weekend to see what the city was like in case he was offered the job. They had pizza that Sunday night near the campus.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘This is the place,’” Pollard said. “‘I hope we get the chance.’”
Pollard’s appointment as athletic director is the second major hire Iowa State has made from Alvarez’s staff at Wisconsin.
Football coach Dan McCarney was defensive coordinator under Alvarez before taking the Iowa State job after the 1994 season.
Alvarez said Pollard would be missed.
“His word was my word, and he did wonderful things in helping advance the mission of our division,” Alvarez said. “Jamie will be sorely missed at the UW-Madison, and he will be an immediate impact player in the Iowa State athletic department.”
Pollard said Alvarez told him that he and his family would like living in Ames, and he would be “working with one of the best football coaches in the country.”
McCarney met with Pollard on Monday morning and said he was impressed.
“I can sure measure how excited our fans and the Iowa State family should be by the reaction of Barry and the Wisconsin people how disappointed they are to lose Jamie,” McCarney said. “I think that’s one of the strongest endorsements he can receive.”
“He’s meticulous, he’s organized, and I think really prepared himself well for this job.”
McCarney’s only other meeting with Pollard occurred last spring at a Fiesta Bowl function.
“It’s funny how things work out sometimes,” McCarney said. “He ended up being my boss.”
Name: Jamie Pollard
Education: BS in business administration, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 1987
Athletic accomplishment: NCAA Division III 5,000-meter champion, 1987
Family: Wife, Ellen, and four children: Thomas, Annie, Maggie and James
Quote: “I’m proud to be here, but I’m even more proud to be joining the Cyclone family.”
Experience: Accountant, Arthur Andersen, Milwaukee, Wis., 1987-89; associate athletic director for internal operations, Saint Louis University, 1989-94; associate athletic director for administration, University of Maryland, 1994-98; senior associate athletic director, University of Wisconsin, 1998-2003; deputy athletic director, University of Wisconsin, 2003-present.