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Pat Chun recently completed his first semester as FAU's Athletic Director. ( photo)


Fundamental change

Pat Chun believes making basic changes to the way the FAU athletic department operates will set the Owls up for long-term success.

Originally published on 1/8/2013

by Chuck King

Pat Chun spent his first semester as Florida Atlantic's Athletic Director trying to change the internal structure of the department in an effort to prepare the Owls for success.

All that work has him talking like a football coach.

"Fundamentally, we weren't blocking and tackling," Chun said. "Regardless of what offense or defense, what exotic blitz schemes you come up with or what type of offensive strategy you have, if you don't block or tackle correctly you really have no chance of winning."

Chun is changing to the department to be able to do basic actions properly.

One of the first priorities for Chun was to find the people who could do the blocking and tackling. He's already hired Daniel Heflin as the director of the Owl Athletic Fund. Next, Chun says he will look to hire a marketing representative.

"Staffing has been eliminated over the years for whatever reason," Chun said. "We've got to get up and running and get some bodies where they can assist in our mission. I would rather take time and get the right person here than rush to get a person here."

Along with bringing in a new marketing person, Chun said the Owls will soon be looking for a new external marketing partner. The school intends to put its multimedia rights package up for bid in the coming months.

Nelligan Sports Marketing currently handles those responsibilities for the Owls and is expected to be one of the bidders. Chun hopes a fresh look at what FAU has to offer will lead to marketing companies to identify new revenue opportunities.

"I think this place has even more potential that I thought when I got here - and I thought it had a lot of potential," Chun said. "These are going to be six critical months for us to move this athletic department forward."

Along with the move from the Sun Belt to Conference USA - FAU should know by the end of the month whether that will happen for the 2013 football season - Chun says securing naming rights for the football stadium is a top priority.

He also hasn't lost sight of previously stated goals of creating a new academic center and upgrading the weight room.
"If you ask me, would I rather get good fast but take chances on not being good for the long haul, or be good for the long haul and take a little more time getting us ready for the long haul, I'll take being ready for the long haul any day of the week," Chun said.

Once Chun gets the infrastructure established the way he wants it, he can approach potential donors with specific plans.

"You can't fundraise for something when you don't know what you're fundraising for," he said.

Even though the big ticket donations haven't exactly come flying in (the Owls announced a gift of $500,000 and a clock from ADT in December) Chun says his initial reception by the community has been positive.

"There are a lot of people passionate about Florida Atlantic University and the athletic department, which is reassuring," Chun said. "I've yet to meet one person in the community that doesn't want us to be successful."

So far, Chun's efforts have impressed the person who hired him.

"I think he's doing a tremendous  job. I think he's bringing a great professional element," FAU president Mary Jane Saunders said.  "Our donors really like interacting with him."

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