Staff additions have Panthers going forward

If you’ve been following the program, and by reading this I’ll assume you have, you’ve obviously noticed that Brian Bidlingmyer moved on to Western Kentucky and has been replaced by Ronnie Jones, whose former job as Video Coordinator has been filled by Tone Boyle.  Chris Hill, who probably goes against Ronnie in a really sweet argument as to “who is the best Panther PG of all-time”  (that’s an awesome idea for a blog post of the future), took a job as academic mentor that will not just help the program’s APR but also get the players graduated and getting better grades while they do it.

Lost in this is the staff changes where people don’t notice, in support services that really help the program not just get bigger (read, football), but also get to the level behind the scenes that we are playing at in the open.  Not many people know this, but the staff has been running on a shortage of personnel forever.

Steve Lautz toiled in compliance alone forever before moving down to Auburn and joining a compliance staff of six people whose job it is to…um…well let’s just say the job is easier down there for Steve because he’s one of several people…yeah.  Kevin Fitzgerald came in from Minnesota and replaced him, did a great job as Lautz did, but he can’t be everywhere doing all of compliance’s jobs.  Rick Costello made a good hire in Kelly Diener, who has worked everywhere from Virginia to Cardinal Stritch (most recently) to the NCAA home office.  Her job makes Fitzgerald’s easier, and now a compliance staff of two can cover a lot more ground than Fitzgerald alone.

In the sales office, Costello brought in Matt Millet (don’t worry, not Matt Millen) from Delaware State to put a jump start into the corporate sales office.  John Stewart, like Fitzgerald, has been performing his job largely by himself.  Like compliance, it’s a job that one person can’t do alone in a big time athletics program, and it’s already paid off – that Orthopedic Hospital of Wisconsin deal just signed with the athletic department is a sign that things are looking up for athletics on the corporate sales front, a pivotal part of the university’s athletics program.

With the departure of Melanie Johnson (Fisher for most of her time here) last year, the development section of the university has been steadied by Chris Ciancimino, who is the Director of Annual Giving but only worked in athletics for the bridge time.  He did a fantastic job, but he’s back in his old office as the permanent job has been taken by Clare Thompson.  Clare will be in charge of all the donations to athletics, so if you want to put some money into the Panther Fund, be sure to call her at 414-229-7153 – we know athletics needs all the help it can get, and they’re trying to get people to jump on for at least $10 a month, which is an affordable way to help the program get to where it wants to be.

I wanted to bring these hires up for a couple reasons.  First off, to put a spotlight on the people that do hard work behind the scenes and rarely get congratulated for it, and second because it shows that Costello has identified staffing shortages as a real problem for the program and zapped them out one-by-one.  Hopefully we can get even more people into the fold (I’m thinking more corporate sales and development positions) to really move Milwaukee forward.


  1. Chris C.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the props, Jimmy! Keep up the good work here.

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