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Four Decades In College Athletics With Western Illinois’ Paul Bubb

Guest Paul Bubb, Western Illinois
13:11 min watch


Western Illinois Director of Athletics Paul Bubb joins ADU’s Tai M. Brown to reflect on four decades in college athletics and the evolution of his strategic thinking throughout his time as AD at Cal State Northridge, Idaho State, Maine and Western Illinois. Bubb and Brown discuss the changes in student-athlete and general student experience, including the impact of the transfer portal and NIL, and talk about the constant cycle of conference affiliation and realignment discussions. Bubb: “At the start of my career, I was dealing with conference affiliations and where we were going… and at this point in my career, we’re looking at the same issue.”

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - You've spent nearly forty years in college athletics, starting with some time as an assistant basketball coach.
  • - You've been in the Big Chair at Western Illinois for about a year but it isn't your first time being an athletics director.
  • - In terms of strategic thinking, what were some of the key similarities and differences between your stops at Northridge, Idaho State, Maine and Western Illinois?
  • - You left Northridge before the decision to drop football took place.
  • - Is there a similar challenge - not as big as dropping football - that you've faced in your subsequent stops?
  • - My assumption is that you then try to be creative about ways to bring in more resources.
  • - I imagine there's some creativity in making that dollar work for everybody.
  • - Is there a creative way to add more benefit to the general student body within the student fee?
  • - It would help to have the general student body share that positive experience with the public - because that might help with enrollment.
  • - Does anything surprise you about college athletics these days?