From the mouth of the director

Athletic director Torre Chisholm has already overseen the three coaching changes, a Big Sky regular season championship for women’s volleyball and the most buzz surrounding the football program in several decades–all in just eight months on the job.

Athletic director Torre Chisholm has already overseen the three coaching changes, a Big Sky regular season championship for women’s volleyball and the most buzz surrounding the football program in several decades–all in just eight months on the job.

As Chisholm enters his first full year at the helm of Vikings athletics, the Vanguard asked him to reflect on his first year in the South Park Blocks and reveal a peek at what 2008 holds.

Evaluate the 2007 calendar year for Vikings athletics. What have you identified as things to improve on? What are some positive aspects that you saw?

Obviously my experience is limited to the time I was here, which was primarily the fall season. I liked the development of the women’s volleyball team. They had been solid the last two years. This year they finally broke through with the conference championship and did it with a younger squad.

I liked what I saw in a lot of aspects in football–the energy and excitement and enthusiasm. And realizing that we have a new staff that needs some time to get some new players and acclimate those players to the system, I see an unbelievable future there.

Portland State has two basketball teams playing some good ball right now. Talk about their success.

On the women’s side, to have a new coach come in and really click with the players … it’s just nice to see them break through. It’s nice to see potential turn into results. We arguably have three of the best six players in the conference, and all are playing well.

I like what we’re doing in men’s basketball. I think we have a quality team. I think it’s great to have the game this week on TV. I’m really excited to have the home game against Montana on TV. My understanding is that we haven’t had a televised game out of the Stott in five years. It’s a great opportunity for students to come out, have some fun and be on TV. It’s a chance for us to showcase our product for the local market.

What are your impressions of the tennis team, which is about to start team tournament play?

Tennis has been a great addition for us. Steve Ascher has already shown he’s a great coach. He’s brought in a lot of quality student-athletes on the men’s and women’s side. He works very well with them. They’ve had some good results for being so young in some of the individual tournaments in the fall.

How’s The Horde going?

Mediocre. We’ve been having a lot of conversations about what we need to do to light a fire under the student body population. I think I’d have liked to see The Horde take off a little faster. We’re a little more normalized now with the basketball season. This quarter will probably be the best indicator of what our potential is to build a student fan base.

We’ve got the drum line in place now, and I think they’ve added a nice element to the games. Probably the next month will show me what the workload will be to get the students excited to be a part of our program. I’ll be curious to see how that pans out.

Do you have any big plans for PSU athletics in 2008?

Big plans are a lot of little plans that come together. We really need to hit and continue to grow the fan base for men’s and women’s basketball. We already have a lot of plans to grow football interest and attendance and revenue next year. We’re hitting the season ticket renewal process three or four months earlier than we ever have.

Our goal is to grow the season ticket base from 4,000 to 5,000. We are probably a little earlier in our promotional plans. We have five games and we want every game to be an experience. We’re launching some new fundraising efforts. It’s a huge part of what we do. We revitalized our Wine and Roses event with the goal of continuing to increase the revenue from that. We hope that in two or three years we’re able to net $250,000 a year from that event, which would make it one of the more significant events in all of Portland.

The Stott is getting older. Talk about the need for renovations.

It gives us a chance, as a campus, to try and re-envision how that space can be used to meet student needs, and especially student-life needs.

In the long term, we need to figure out how that space can be used to accomplish a real campus need, which is to have a congregation point–a campus events center. There’s been some site work done that has shown we might be able to configure the gym space with some expansion so it could accommodate up to 4,200 fans in an arena setting.

Part of my job is to continue to pursue that and investigate how that can come into play in terms of how we can use the space the best. How do we acquire the funding that will allow us to make that space usable and to make it a facility that is not just about hosting basketball and volleyball games, but a facility that can serve the entire campus and potentially the entire downtown community.

Chisholm’s top three priorities for 2008:Win two or three Big Sky championshipsExpand fan base and increase financial supportContinue planning for Stott Center renovation