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|Articles - September 2010|
|Friday, August 20, 2010|
Page 4 of 5
Sports fans may not be aware of this fact, but the mascot for the largest public university in Oregon is not a Duck or a Beaver. It is a Viking. Portland State University has 27,000 students. About 280 of them are athletes.
Portland State’s athletic director, Torre Chisholm, has been on the job for three years, and he acknowledges that PSU has to overcome the perception of running an underperforming sports program. “Portland State’s a great university and we need to represent that by being a great athletic department,” says Chisholm. “Athletics can be the most visible personification of excellence. Right or wrong, it’s athletics that ends up getting the most media coverage and recognition in the university setting.”
Chisholm has hired nine new head coaches over his three years on the job, partially because his $10 million department is not wealthy enough to keep pace with the market rate for top coaches. He points out with pride that four of the young coaches he’s hired won conference championships in their first year. Unfortunately, these sports weren’t football, so they didn’t generate much in the way of headlines — or revenue.
The Vikings had their glory days under quarterback Neil Lomax in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but they have struggled in recent years, playing to more empty seats than filled ones. The university hired former pro coach Jerry Glanville to resuscitate the program in 2007, but Glanville resigned last November after losing 24 games and winning just nine.
“The hard thing about ticket revenue is it’s so tied to performance,” says Chisholm. “Bottom line is, we have to make some progress in football and we have to sell some tickets.”
The marketing hype that surrounds big-time college sports obscures the fact that for every football team selling out stadiums and boosting admissions there is another playing to lackluster crowds and losing money. The most common approach to solving that problem is to invest as much as possible in the team (recruiting a former pro coach, for example) to make the program stronger.
But the University of Portland proves that a university can run a big-time athletics program without playing football. Athletic director Larry Williams oversees a $12 million, 60-employee department that has grown dramatically due largely to the phenomenal long-term record of its men’s and women’s soccer teams.
“Nobody does soccer better than us, and arguably that’s because we can focus on it,” says Williams. “We’re not focusing on that big animal that is football.” But UP is very much the exception rather than the rule.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Floor plans embrace the great wide open.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
Friday, May 22, 2015
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How conservation stimulates the local economy.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.
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