Chisholm starts tenure as athletic director

Portland State University President Daniel Bernstine announced Michael “Torre” Chisholm as the new athletic director in a press conference Monday, bringing the lengthy 14-month search to an end.

Portland State University President Daniel Bernstine announced Michael “Torre” Chisholm as the new athletic director in a press conference Monday, bringing the lengthy 14-month search to an end. Former PSU athlete and softball coach Teri Mariani held the interim position after Tom Burman’s departure over a year ago.

“As usual, it takes a long time to make decisions in higher education. But, in the end, because of the process you always end up with the best result. And, I am very pleased with our results,” said Bernstine. “We have someone who I think is committed to Portland State. He has already hit the ground and has some great ideas for continued success of our athletic department. And, I am really excited about the upcoming years in Portland State athletics.”

Chisholm has acted as the associate athletic director for developing and marketing at the University of California, Irvine since September 2000. During his stint at UC Irvine, Chisholm has enjoyed a wealth of success, increasing fundraising by 200 percent and sponsorships by 150 percent.

“I talked with a number of people who were familiar with this university and they told me what a great place it was. It’s a wonderful setting. It’s a unique setting to some degree on the West Coast. I look for uniqueness. I think it is a wonderful community. Portland State is already a part of that community, but there just aren’t enough people talking about how Portland State affects them. That is part of what I have to facilitate,” said Chisholm.

At Portland State, Chisholm faces some unique challenges, which may ultimately define his legacy as the athletic director.

“An obvious challenge is just meeting everyone, and that’s our job within the department to connect him with people,” said Mariani. “We need to pump some more money into our marketing and advertising. We’ve got to do a better job of ensuring that not only the students, but also everyone in the community knows about the games. Going out and raising some money allows us to attract all fans. Winning is going to be important to getting the students into games, they aren’t different from any other fan.”

Although Chisholm learned of hiring less than two weeks ago and has yet to move into his window office on Sixth Avenue, which he will not officially reside in until May 1, he is already planning to engineer many groundbreaking changes at Portland State.

“People in athletics are naturally competitive. We are going to ask every single one of our coaches to compete to recruit, compete in competitions and compete to win. Under my leadership, we are going to compete just as hard to give them the resources and attention they deserve and need, so that’s the first commitment I’m going to make to the coaches here,” said Chisholm.

One of Chisholm’s first acts as athletic director will be enhancing and solidifying fund raising that will provide the athletic department with additional capital to promote Viking athletic programs.

“There are a lot of things we need to tackle to get [fund raising in place] first. We need to lock down the annual funds, and build that immediately and over time. We are going to focus on significant gift opportunities, as well. Now is a great time for people to make transformative gifts on behalf of the athletic department to take it to the next level,” said Chisholm. “We will also focus on other revenue-generating opportunities: ticket sales, season tickets, group sales and relationships on the corporate sponsor side.”

Chisholm emphasized immediacy in the planning process to accomplish as much as possible while the opportunity presents itself. By keeping the buzz of the hiring of head football coach Jerry Glanville, to build excitement about the Portland State athletics.

“When I stand in the back of the room at Jerry’s [Glanville] press conference and saw the energy, it was phenomenal. I thought it was an attractive job before they hired coach Glanville. After they hired him it became a very attractive job,” said Chisholm. “What is great is now there is an opportunity to take advantage of the people who have a renewed interested in Portland State athletics. We need to figure out how to take advantage of the opportunities, build new relationships and go to the next level.”

With the mind of an individual very close to Viking athletics, Chisholm and his associates look to seize the opportunity and lay a foundation before it is no longer in their control.

“He needs to get out there while we are still undefeated [in football]. I feel that window of opportunity is there until September 1, and we start playing. We are still undefeated now, and everyone is still fired up about our football program and what it is going to be on the field. That is when you want to get out there and get people excited–both corporations and individuals,” said Mariani.