POCATELLO – Darryl Sims said it would take the perfect situation to leave his job in Wisconsin.
He said Idaho State University presents that opportunity.
Sims was the fifth and final candidate for ISU’s next athletic director to hold a open forum, which happened Wednesday at the Pond Student Union Building on campus. The ninth-year athletic director at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh pointed to ISU’s leadership and its commitment to athletics, the budding potential of Bengal athletics, and ISU’s status as a small Division I university as reasons he took interest in the job opening.
Who should be ISU's next athletic director?
“I’ve always said I would not leave Oshkosh unless it was what I consider to be an ideal situation,” Sims told the crowd of university staff, students, boosters and supporters that gathered Wednesday. “As we started to do our homework about Idaho State, all of those elements started to fall into place.”
Sims’ tenure at the Division III Wisconsin Oshkosh has been met with widespread athletic success. The men’s basketball team is amid its fourth consecutive Division III Tournament and finished last season as the national runner-up. The football team has won three league championships since 2012 and was the national runner-up in 2016. The women’s basketball team is still alive in this year’s NCAA Tournament, fresh off winning regular-season and tournament conference championships. The women’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams have combined to win four national championships since 2011.
“Since I’ve been in this position, we’ve been able to turn our department around in a very, very positive way,” Sims said.
Sims’ resume also boasts a $20 million facilities renovation and directing Oshkosh’s athletic department with an operating budget of $3 million.
“I’ve never asked people for a nickel,” Sims said. “What I do is ask people to invest in what we do.”
Before he entered the realm of athletic administration, Sims was a Division I student-athlete, professional football player and assistant coach in two professional football leagues.
He earned all-conference honors as a football player at the University of Wisconsin and was the 20th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1985 NFL Draft. After his playing days ended, Sims coached with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and three NFL Europe teams, including as the head coach of the Cologne (Germany) Centurions.
If he’s picked to be ISU’s next athletic director, Sims said, he’ll approach the job with four Ps as his pillars: people, process, partnerships, passion.
“Our staff needs to be committed to the university as a whole, and certainly they need to stand for what we’re trying to do as an athletic department,” Sims said.
Sims also touched on ISU’s football program scheduling “money games,” a new arena for the basketball teams, and breaking out of an operational silo.
To summarize: money games are a budgetary necessity, facilities are vital for successful recruiting, and those silo walls need to be broken.
“I am incredibly excited about the possibility of being your athletic director,” Sims said. “You’re right on the cusp of doing great things. I want to be the person to get you the rest of the way.”
A decision is expected to come before the end of March. The best candidate will be chosen and a job offer extended by ISU President Kevin Satterlee.