Greg Christopher is in his fourth year as Bowling Green State University's athletic director. Christopher, 42, oversees an 18-sport program which has a budget of $16.5 million and 73 full-time employees. He came to BGSU after spending nearly a decade at Purdue where he served as Associate A.D. A native of West Lafayette, Ind., he earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Miami University where he played football for one season before his career was cut short because of an injury.
1. How long did it take to get over the last-second defeat at the Humanitarian Bowl?
It was a tough 48 hours or so, absolutely, especially when you had other bowl games on TV and it [the score] was replayed quite a bit. Our team played hard and it was unfortunate we came up short.
2. Do you have a favorite sport that you follow?
I don't know that I have a favorite sport, but probably the most enjoyable thing is being able to watch our student athletes compete. Of course, Saturday afternoons in the fall are certainly special but it really doesn't matter if it's gymnastics, soccer, or hockey. Being able to watch our student athletes is the most important part of the job.
3. What do you think of Freddie Barnes' NCAA record-setting season?
The year by itself has been special. The neat part, from my standpoint, was watching Freddie develop over four seasons. It has been a lot of fun and what he did on the field and as a leader and in the locker room really capped it all off.
4. How much pressure is there on a college athletic director to manage a successful athletic department?
It's a complicated position, intercollegiate athletics. Sometimes people simplify it as just sports. It's more complex than that. At the same time, it's life's toy box. I feel fortunate to be able to work in a field or an area that I enjoy. There are certain pressures and challenges that happen like in every workplace or every job.
5. What is the history behind the ‘W' flag that was seen this fall waving in the wind on a flagpole at the northwest end of Doyt Perry Stadium following a BG football victory?
The ‘W' flag is actually something we thought about doing for a couple years. I grew up a Cubs fan and it's been a long-standing tradition at Wrigley Field. Philip Wrigley would put up a ‘W' flag after every Cubs win to let the people in the neighborhood know the Cubs won. So, over the summer, we said why not and we ordered the flag. I've heard positive comments and I've heard people laughing about it. Overall, it's been positive.
6. What are your thoughts about Dave Clawson's first year in charge of the football program?
I've been really thrilled with what Dave has done as a head coach. He's set a good foundation. The team, off the field, has been great in the community and they have solidified their academics and, on the field, they have finished strong in games. We're going to miss that group of seniors and we'll have some big shoes to fill.
7. What do you think of the Bowling Green community?
The people I work with and the people in the community — you've got a real strong core group of people that support the institution. It reflects the values of the community.
8. Have you considered changing the color of the turf at Doyt Perry Stadium to orange or brown, similar to the blue turf at Boise State University?
When we put the field turf in two or three years ago, we looked into all the different options. We could have put in an orange field if we wanted to. We talked about it and the conversation was about 30 seconds and then we decided to go with the traditional green turf. The Boise blue field is hard enough to look at on TV.
9. How do you handle a situation when a particular program is losing more often than winning?
If you live in the world of athletics you expect there are going to be wins and losses. Most coaches and administrators understand you can't get too high or too low. When there's a pattern you start looking at signals and that applies to wins and losses and you don't get too emotional.
10. What do you think of the Humanitarian Bowl and the Mid-American Conference potentially becoming a regular fixture involved in the game held in Boise?
I think the people out in Boise do a really nice job. It's a part of the country where normally our teams in the conference wouldn't have a chance to go there. From all accounts, it's a very good experience.
— Donald Emmons