Behind The Desk is a weekly feature this summer profiling each of The Summit League's lead athletic administrators. These leaders provide a glimpse into their background and personal life along with their take on various aspects of college athletics.
In this week's installment, the final of the series, Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple is profiled.
NAME: Tom Douple
AFFILIATION: The Summit League
Where I'm From: Lebanon, Pa.
Where I Went to School: Cedar Crest High School ('71) / Hagerstown Junior College ('73) / LSU ('76)
My First Job: Flipping hamburgers at Red Barn Hamburgers in Lebanon, Pa.
What I Like …
An Influential Person in My Career: Rick Erdman, my track & field coach at Hagerstown Junior College. He was very influential in my career and is still coaching at Eastern Kentucky.
Also, Lang Kennedy, who hired me as an Assistant Athletic Director at Cornell University. He was a very good leader to learn from as Cornell had the largest athletic department in the country at the time with 36 varsity sports, plus the physical education and intramural departments.
A Timeless Idea: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
A Sports Facility: There's no better place than LSU's Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night in the fall.
A Sports Event: The Summit League Basketball Championships, above all, but also any LSU home football game or the NCAA Men's Final Four.
A Brand: Blue Delft, which is hand-painted porcelain from Holland. I have a collection of approximately 200 pieces, which consists of a variety of items (i.e. – coffee mugs, plates, candlestick holders), which I started collecting in the 1970's.
A Trend: Games being accessible via mobile apps or phone is a pretty good trend and being able to watch three or four games at home.
An Innovation: Mobile phone – can be connected at all times.
An Idea or Invention I Wish I Had Thought Of: Microwave Oven.
What I Like about …
My Job: Being involved in the business of sports is very rewarding to me. I enjoy having the luxury to see first-hand the development of student-athletes and staff (coaches/administrators). I also enjoy having someone to cheer for.
Sports: I like to see great competition with good coaching and seeing the fans support their teams is great.
The Direction of Sports Business: Providing more and more opportunities for students, coaches or administrators to get in the business. Not only in collegiate level, but in both the minors and professional levels as well. Also, there's always an increase in fans as sports allow for a great topic of conversation anywhere you go.
Sports Fans: They have a passion and a cause to cheer for. There's nothing better than going to an event and seeing passionate fans cheer on their team, it creates a great environment.
What I would like to …
See More of in Sports: Continuing improvement on sportsmanship.
See More of in Sports Business: People that get into the business for the right reasons and continued growth of opportunities for student-athletes, coaches and administrators.
See Different: The constant harping on the negatives and more focus on positive approaches.
What I like …
People: People with a positive attitude and a great sense of humor.
That Would Surprise Those Who Know Me: I have a deep appreciation for artwork (metal art, sculptures, etc…)
Heroes: Roberto Clemente and Willie Nelson.
Teams: All the black and gold teams from Pittsburgh (Pirates, Steelers, Penguins).
City: Austin, Texas.
Memento: Original piece of the track from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Book: Willie Nelson's autobiography "It's a Long Story".
Movies: Redheaded Stranger.
Trip: My wife and I went to Charleston, S.C. It had great food and tremendous history.
Websites: thesummitleague.org; cnn.com; espn.com.
Gadget: My table saw, cut saw and all my carpentry tools.
App: The Score Mobile.
Quote: From an unnamed University President: "Athletics is the most visible area of our University. It is the front porch to our house. If students, alumni and community members are impressed by our front porch, they will open the door to come inside our house (university)."
Others Featured in The Summit League's "Behind The Desk" Series