Selgo is named Athletic Director of the Year

Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Pete Barrows

Behind every successful athlete, there’s a team. Behind every successful team, there’s a coach. Behind every successful coach, an athletic director.

Grand Valley State University has established a premier Division II athletic program—finishing with eight teams in the top 10 nationally, winning 11 conference championships and taking the school’s 15th consecutive Presidents Cup Trophy, annually awarded to the top program in the GLIAC, during the 2012-13 athletic year. With top-rate athletes, coaches and an athletic director that’s one of the best in the business, the secret to the Lakers sustained success is really no secret at all.

“GVSU has the total package from top to bottom such as great academics, great student body, fans, great campus, great administrative support, great facilities, great support staff, and most importantly great student-athletes that put in all of the hard work,” said Jerry Baltes, GVSU head track and field coach of 14 years. “This package allows all the GVSU coaches to put together great teams and produce great results year in and year out.”

Overseeing the attainment of these esteemed results that have helped transform GVSU into one of the most reputable athletic powers in the nation is Tim Selgo, the man behind the curtain who for 16 years has worked tirelessly to construct a vision of athletic prowess.

Selgo’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and for his contributions, The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics named him a recipient of the 2013 Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year—an award that has 28 winners (four per division) annually spanning seven collegiate divisions (NCAA FBS, FCS, Division I-AAA, II, III, NAIA/Other Four-Year Institutions and Junior College/Community Colleges).

Selgo joins contemporaries Pennie Parker of Rollins College, Scott Wiegandt of Bellarmine University and Sue Willey of the University of Indianapolis as 2013 Division II recipients—recipients acknowledged for their impact directing their schools and within their communities.

“It starts at the top, that’s Tim Selgo athletic director,” said Doc Woods, GVSU head softball coach of 23 years. “He provides the coaches and the athletes everything we need to try to be successful. It’s great because it’s (GVSU) a successful program and I think every program, each sport feeds off each other to be successful; there’s a lot of collegiality between coaches. All that starts with Tim.”

Between Woods and Baltes alone, there’s a docket of more than 900 career victories, 60 GLIAC coach of the year awards and six NCAA national titles. Giants in their respective sports, it’s the personal touch both so diligently apply to their craft that distinguishes them. This is true of most every coach at GVSU and is a trait that can be traced back to Selgo, who is careful to keep the details a point of emphasis.

“Tim has the ability to see the big picture that allows him to create a clear vision, at the same time he is able to focus on the details that are important to make steady progress on a day-to-day basis,” Baltes said. “On top of this he has a knack of empowering those around to reach competitive greatness while keeping everything in perspective, which is important in our profession.”

Selgo has also been insistent on recognizing this personal acknowledgment as a staff award, which is fitting, since Selgo never forgets a name or his place as a leader.

“Of the things that I find with Tim is that he knows our athletes,” Woods said. “We have a lot of athletes, but I tell you he knows most of them by their first name. You go to other schools, that really doesn’t happen.”

A catalyst that charted a course years ago and whose steady hands have smoothly sailed the course since, Selgo is the captain of the ship and the binding that holds it together all in one. Selgo’s hard work and vision have been defining, making GVSU a preferred destination as both a university and an athletic program. More than any championship, accolade or distinction, though, it’s the people and the relationships that have defined both Selgo’s tenure and GVSU as a program.

“The most rewarding thing for me are the relationships,” Selgo said. “Specifically, it is really rewarding to see student-athletes come in as freshman, develop into young adults during their time at GVSU and then go out and do great things in society. We have a large volume of alums that are doing great things in their professions and societies and it is really rewarding to see them when they come back to GVSU as successful adults because that is the ultimate goal of what we are doing. It is a great feeling to see these ‘Lakers for a Lifetime’ become great contributors to society and know you played a small part in their growth and development.”