UC Riverside Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom is one of three finalists for a vacant athletic director position at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
Populating the list of finalists for the job are Wickstrom, Texas Pan-American Athletic Director Chris King and Josh Brooks, the Associate Athletic Director for Georgia.
The Louisiana Monroe job opened up when current Athletic Director Bobby Staub left the university in favor of a senior associate athletic director position at Florida International. According to the Monroe News-Star, Louisiana Monroe received over 40 applicants and, after a round of interviews, narrowed the search down to three finalists.
Under Wickstrom’s guidance since 2011, UC Riverside’s athletic department has seen growth and development. UC Riverside’s total fan attendance has increased by 41 percent, fundraising has risen 190 percent and sponsorship revenue has gone up 283 percent. Last year, the athletics department even recorded the highest student attendance in school history. Most importantly, however, Wickstrom has been instrumental in the developmental plans for the much-anticipated C-Center. The university has also undergone five coaching changes in that span and continues to struggle in virtually every sport.
In a recent interview with The Highlander, Wickstrom reaffirmed the constant advancement of the 6,000-8,000 multi-purpose arena project. He stated that the project will “continue to move forward” and will “help make UCR a destination and keep students on campus.” However, if Wickstrom were to depart, the hopes for UCR’s C-Center would most likely remain just that.
According to a survey by USA Today, Wickstrom rakes in $199,000 annually in base salary at UC Riverside. UL Monroe’s last athletic director made $109,923 in base salary. Essentially, Wickstrom is a finalist for a lower-paying job than the one he currently holds.
It is not too farfetched to believe that Brian Wickstrom is seeing the UCR athletics department as an extremely difficult project, something that cannot easily be fixed. However, it remains to be seen whether Wickstrom will stay planted with the Division I university or leave for what could be greener pastures in Louisiana.