With a multitude of question marks and instability in its athletic programs, many felt the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee had to make a statement with its athletic director hire.
It did just that.
UW-Milwaukee announced Thursday that former Ohio State University athletic director Andy Geiger is the university’s choice to lead the school’s athletic department.
Geiger, 73, will begin his duties immediately and replaces Rick Costello, who resigned in April while school officials conducted a review into the program.
“We believe Andy Geiger possesses the leadership qualities to bring stability and continuity to UWM Athletics during this transitional phase,” UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael R. Lovell said in a release. “During his extremely distinguished career, Andy has gained an unparalleled breadth of experiences that will allow him to fully support our coaches and to significantly enhance the collegiate experiences of our athletic department’s greatest asset: UWM’s student-athletes.”
Geiger became the athletic director at Brown University in 1971 at age 32. From there he moved on to Stanford University, where he led the Cardinal for 11 years. He then spent three years at the University of Maryland before taking the reins at Ohio State.
“The opportunity to be part of the leadership team at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is ideal for me,” Geiger said in a release. “I am ready to apply the experience of 35 years as a Division I athletic director to the student-athletes, coaches and staff at UWM. I look forward eagerly to being part of the UWM community.”
From 1994 until his 2006 retirement at Ohio State, Geiger was instrumental in the building of six athletic facilities and the renovation of four others.
During his time in Columbus, the Jerome Schottenstein Center (basketball), Bill Davis Stadium (baseball), Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium (track and field, soccer) and Bill and Mae McCorkie Aquatics Pavillion (swimming and diving) were constructed.
Geiger also oversaw the $194 million renovation of Ohio Stadium (football). According to Ohio State, his plan raised money so no university or student money was used.
This experience and knowledge will be crucial to UW-Milwaukee as it is facing major facilities decisions in the near future, especially for basketball and baseball.
“His administrative and facilities-development expertise will also be immensely helpful as UWM embarks on a campus-wide strategic planning process,” Lovell said in a release.
Ohio State excelled on the field during Geiger’s tenure, as well. The Buckeyes won 15 national championships and had more student-athletes named to the Academic All-Big Ten team than any other school.
Geiger was named to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 and was given the Division 1A Directors of Athletics 2009 Homer Rice Award, presented annually to an athletic director with a distinguished career who has made a significant impact on the profession and intercollegiate athletics.
After such a long career, coming to Milwaukee has extra special meaning to Geiger.
“Especially meaningful personally is the fact that I will be working just a few blocks from where my father was born and raised,” Geiger said. “So this is, in a unique way, a kind of homecoming.”