Bartholomae announces a new leadership team, sports administration team and staff promotions

Under the direction of the new sports director Dan Bartholomewannounced the athletics department of Western Michigan University a new organizational structure, multiple staff title promotions, and a series of athletic administrator appointments to support the continued development of the athletic department’s strategic plan, continued growth in key athletics administrative areas, and direct support for the holistic development of more than 370 Bronco students -Athlete.

The new organizational structure includes an eight-strong leadership team with defined areas of oversight to increase operational efficiencies, improve collaboration between departmental units, and allocate responsibility for executing departmental priorities.

The structure also allows for a 6-person athletic administration team designed to provide direct administrative support to all Bronco head coaches and athletic programs.

“I am pleased to officially announce this important organizational effort aimed at strengthening our department and better supporting our student-athletes as we look to the future of intercollegiate athletics. Using the feedback I received directly from our SWOT survey and our gap/organizational analysis, I believe we have assembled a talented team of professionals to serve our three key demographics: student-athletes; University/External Partners; and coaches/employees of the sports department.”

In addition to Bartholomae, who will continue to serve as sports administrator for the football program, the leadership team includes the following new hires:

Elaine RussellSenior Associate Athletics Director, External Operations

Russell returned to Western Michigan in April after spending the last 8 years at Buffalo, another MAC school. Russell will serve as senior associate athletic director for external operations, overseeing a number of areas including tickets, marketing, communications, branding and sponsorships. Russell will also assist with the department’s NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) initiatives in student and athlete digital brand assets and related content. She will also be the sports administrator for volleyball, men’s basketball and softball. She will also support the Band, Cheer and Dance programs as sports administrator.

Julian JonesSenior Associate Athletics Director, Broncos Empowered and Championship Culture

Jones joined the Bronco family in early August as the first-ever Senior Associate Athletic Director for Broncos Empowered and Championship Culture. As director of the Broncos Empowered program, Jones will lead initiatives that support WMU Athletics’ goal of leading the country in the holistic development of its student-athletes, while strengthening partnerships with the community and managing the professional development of athletic department employees and coaches. Jones’ role also includes managing the WMU Athletics “W” Club and implementing educational initiatives for student-athletes and the community around NIL. He will also handle sports administration responsibilities for women’s soccer and share responsibilities for women’s cross-country and track and field.

Lorne RobertsonSenior Associate Athletics Director, Administration, Academics and Compliance

Robertson joined Kalamazoo in early August as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Administration, Academics and Compliance. Robertson will oversee the Academic Support Services Unit for the department’s 370 student-athletes and will also oversee the department’s NCAA governance and compliance efforts. His responsibilities include leading the sports administration team and will also oversee the advancement of Western Michigan’s NIL policies and programs. Robertson will also handle sports administration responsibilities for men’s soccer, men’s tennis and baseball.

In addition to these new hires, other members of the leadership team include:

Keana SmithSenior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations and Senior Women’s Administrator

Smith has been a member of WMU Athletics since August 2018 and serves the department as Senior Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator. Smith oversees the athletics department’s facility and event management units while leading key departmental initiatives such as the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. Smith will lead the athletic department’s strategic planning process and assist with the upcoming master plan for the athletics facility. She will handle sports administration responsibilities for women’s basketball and gymnastics, and share responsibilities for women’s cross-country and track and field.

Elizabeth KnipsAssociate Athletics Director, Business Operations/CFO

Knips has been a member of the sports department since June 2016. She is responsible for all business and financial operations of the department including business operations, budget management, IT and equipment services. She also acts as a liaison to the Human Resources Office at WMU. She will serve as sports administrator for women’s tennis and women’s golf.

Finally, Bartholomae announced the following two promotions and new members of the leadership team:

brian farmerAssistant Athletic Director for Medical Services

Bauer has been a member of the athletic training staff since 2002 and was recently promoted to Associate Athletic Director for Medical Services in July. In his new role, he will oversee multiple support functions for students and athletes, including athletic training, strength and conditioning, mental health services and nutrition. He will also serve as the sports administrator for the hockey program.

Jim CulhaneSenior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Director of Athletic Advancement

Culhane was recently promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Director of Athletic Advancement. Culhane has been part of the Bronco sports family since his days as a bronco hockey student athlete. His primary responsibility is overseeing all fundraising efforts for the department, including major donations and the Bronco Athletic Fund. He also acts as the department’s liaison to the university promotion and alumni association teams.

“This new structure is just one step in developing a clear strategic plan for Athletics. We look forward to collaborating on several new initiatives, including a bold and comprehensive master plan for athletics facilities; the advancement of the Broncos Empowered Program; advocate for athletic programming that competes at the highest levels of the MAC/NCHC; quality community and donor engagement; innovative and aggressive new revenue generation efforts; a robust NIL program for student athletes; and creating a welcoming and inclusive professional environment for student athletes and staff.”

Bartholomae has also announced the following additional departmental staff promotions:

Anthony DiCarloAssistant Athletic Director, Bronco Productions

Dicarlo was promoted to Bronco Productions’ assistant athletics director in June. DiCarlo will oversee the Bronco Productions and creative team, which is responsible for all digital content generated for the department. He is also responsible for all phases of ESPN 3/+ productions hosted for the department.

Adam BodnarDirector, Sports Communications

Bodnar, another longtime member of the athletic department, was the assistant director and primary media contact for the Bronco Hockey team. In July, Bodnar was promoted to Director of Athletic Strategic Communications and will be the primary media contact for the Bronco Football Team.

Elys Perrydeputy athletic director for promotion

Perry was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Advancement. Her responsibilities include managing all suite sales for Bronco Football, nurturing key donors and stakeholders, and other strategic fundraising initiatives. She also champions the role of WMU Athletics in the university’s annual Giving Day.

Jared WillisAssistant Athletic Director of the Bronco Athletic Fund,

Willis was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director of the Bronco Athletic Fund. He will be responsible for all annual fund initiatives, including priority seating contributions for football, basketball and hockey.

Daniel WalenAssociate Director, Medical Services.

Walen was promoted to deputy director of medical services. Walen works primarily with men’s and women’s football while also overseeing the Seelye Athletic Training facility. He is also an Associate Professor in the Graduate Athletic Training Program.

“We are pleased to recognize the important efforts of our employees and appreciate their talent, drive and passion for WMU athletics,” said Bartholomae. “These individuals all play a significant role in prioritizing the student-athlete experience at WMU and are considered leaders in their respective fields.”

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