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Doug Gillin Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2020 4:50 pm

Doug Gillin Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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The day the Big Ten announced that they were going to cancel all non-conference football games for the fall, we were chatting with former Mountaineer quarterback, NFL Network lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who said, since I'm not a coach, I'm not an administrator, I'm certainly not a player, I can say this with confidence, that Wisconsin is happy. That that App State game is no longer on the schedule. And he also said how happy he was to have his former left tackle and Sean Clark now leading the Mountaineer program, the head of the athletic department with App State. Doug Gillen, the director of athletics, kind enough to join us now. So I'll ask you, we heard what Daniel Jeremiah had to say, how happy do you think the Badgers are that they don't have to face your Mountaineers this year?

Well, you know, I think they would rather face us than all of us face COVID, that's for sure. But yeah, we were excited, our student athletes were super excited to go out there and play at Camp Randall, one of the best atmospheres in college football. So we're certainly excited to go. You know, the news, we understood, you know, a lot of difficult decisions in college athletics right now. But so we'll regroup and continue to carry on here. But yeah, yeah, we were we were excited to go play. Have you already had discussions with schools about potentially replacing that Wisconsin game?

Yeah, I mean, I think it was fast and furious. And really, so everybody's got an open weekend, really a candidate. And, you know, we've reached out to a bunch of them, had some conversations back and forth.

I think all of us are still kind of waiting and seeing, you know, what else might happen. But, you know, assuming that we can play, we're actively trying to fill that hole in our schedule. It's App State Director of Athletics, Doug Gillen with us here. Without getting into the specific schools, if you do replace that game, do you think it makes more sense to play a power five or to play an FCS considering that it was ruled that, unlike previous years, you could have two FCS games count against your wins, leading to bowl eligibility? Yeah, and I think the question isn't like what makes, you know, and sometimes, you know, desperate times call for desperate measures in terms of, you know, who can play and who has the availability. You know, that game certainly was a financial game for us.

Those aren't available right now. And, you know, a lot of the games that are available are the folks that were playing Big Ten teams. And if they were power five teams that were playing Big Ten teams, they were home and homes.

So really not, you know, a guarantee. So I think, you know, for us looking at, okay, who can play on what date? Is it home? Is it away? You know, certainly we were slated to go on the road so we could go on the road.

It's, you know, cheaper. And so for us, certainly in the group of five, having, you know, the best attendance, if not one of the best attendance in the group of five, having games at home is, you know, important for us too. And it could help make up some of that if we could get another home game. But everything is so fluid right now.

It's just, you know, who could play on what date? What other things might happen between now and the season? And I think we all thought even a month or two ago that this was just going to be a very fluid season from a scheduling standpoint.

We certainly saw some of that start last week. I want to get your reaction to something ECU AD John Gilbert told us yesterday. We were talking to him about the impact for G5 schools that really rely on football attendance, potentially not having the non-conference games, the toll it might take.

And this is what he said. Well, for schools like ECU, playing without fans is more of a financial hit in that, you know, we would play the games, no fans. We still have all the expense of putting a game on, traveling to a game, all the ancillary calls with playing both home and on the road without the revenue. If you don't play the games at all, certainly you have the revenue hit that is big, but you also you don't have all the expense from it. So your bottom line is actually better for a school like us in that case. Doug, where do you stand specifically on the argument of what's more beneficial for when it comes to having full football without fans in the stands versus spring football, but potentially having fans there?

Well, I think, you know, to John's point, and John does a great job at ECU, there's a breaking point, right? There's a point with, certainly if you say no fans, then he's absolutely correct. You got expense, no fans.

We're hoping that there's some type of, whether it's 50% or whatever the number might be, that we'll be able to play with fans. And then there's a point where your revenues are better than your expense and vice versa. You know, if it's, you know, 20%, then it's about a break even.

If it's zero, then you're losing money. And so, but at 50%, you can at least make some money at a place like Appalachian because of, you know, the strength of our fan base and the folks who want to come watch us play. You know, I think it's hard to imagine playing games without fans.

You know, leave the expense aside. I don't even know from a student athlete perspective, from an experience perspective, and then certainly from a financial perspective. If you were playing in empty stadiums, yeah, I don't really, I haven't really, you know, wrapped my head around what that could even look like. So what we try to do is everywhere from, you know, fan base to like a 50% type thing. Those are kind of the scenarios that we're looking at.

No fans is really hard to imagine why that would make sense. It's Doug Gillum with us here, App State Director of Athletics. It sounds like you're fairly optimistic. What's the source of your optimism?

Well, I mean, I choose to be glass half full. You know, we're running out of time, certainly, in terms of, you know, whether it's COVID and, you know, positive tests, the peak, the plateau, the curve. You know, I choose to believe that we're going to play until we're not going to play. And I think the way that I've been looking at is really kind of segmented month by month. And certainly as we sit here in mid-July, you know, we saw what the Big Ten did last week. And then the Pac-12, I think you're going to have some decisions and see if it's been public, whether it's SCC and ACC will decide to go conference only. And then, so I think once you look into, you get to August and then you decide, okay, where's the landscape from conference only, Power Five versus Drupal Five, and then you start looking at, okay, can we play on September 5th?

And those decisions, I think, will be made, need to be made first week of August, just as a point of reference. If it's a go, then you're playing on September 5th. If it's not, then I think the next kind of date you're looking at is, can you play by October 1? And October 1, certainly for us, conference only, you know, eight-game schedule, could you maybe get a ninth game in? Again, for us, home games are really important. If you can't hit that benchmark, then once you get to November, then you're really starting to socialize the conversation. Is the spring a possibility?

Is it putting too much into TV windows? Is there any availability? Is there too many sports? So really, I kind of look at it month by month, and certainly while the news is not good today, we're still planning on playing. And that might change here in the next couple weeks, but as of today, we're still planning on being ready to go on September 5th. Circling back to the start where we were talking about the Wisconsin game, I think the way you put it, it was fast and furious, and you've been talking to multiple schools. Ballpark it for me, how many schools have you been in touch with to see just how interested they would be in playing on a given date?

That's between 10 and 15. You know, you look at certainly on that day, everybody lost a game on September 19th, and so all those are possibilities. Anybody that's open, and so that was kind of where we started, and then certainly we had some folks reach out to us and say, hey, if ACC or SEC doesn't happen, will you be open to playing on this date? And so I think for the month of September, assuming that we can play in that month is going to be really fluid. And then once we get to October, we've got our conference schedule all laid out, so you kind of know where that fits. So I really look at, you know, over the next couple weeks with some decisions that are made by the other Power 5 conferences, then we'll zero in on, because all schools are like, okay, you know, at least SBS schools are, all right, what else is going to happen? When do I need to lock in that game? So that's why for us, Castor-Wydnet, we're in conversation with a lot of schools, and then you see who's got openings, who can travel, who can host, what does their capacity look like in whatever state they might be in.

So it seems like we should have all the impetus, but it's really day by day in terms of trying to figure this out, something that none of us have ever dealt with before. It's Doug Gillen, AppState Director of Athletics, before we let you go. I'm not sure if you knew this, but it's National French Fry Day. Waffle fries, steak fries, curly fries, or another style. What is Doug Gillen's preference?

Well, I think you go curly with some seasoning on it. That's really well done. That's really well done by Doug Gillen. It's good to hear your voice. I hope you're safe up there on the mountain.

I hope we're talking about football sometime soon. Thanks for doing this. You got it, Josh. Appreciate you. Thank you. There you go. That is AppState AD, Doug Gillen, and we are the radio home for Appalachian State football.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 02:08:13 / 2023-02-12 02:12:41 / 4

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