COLLEGE PARK, Md. – During his formal introduction as Maryland’s new athletic director Tuesday, Kevin Anderson thanked his predecessor for putting the school in the upper echelon of the nation’s sports programs.
Then Anderson vowed to do even better.
Anderson, the first African-American to hold the position at Maryland, was athletic director at Army before accepting the same job in College Park. The 55-year-old Anderson takes over for Debbie Yow, who held the post for 16 years until leaving for North Carolina State in July.
Terms of Anderson’s contract was not released.
“I want to acknowledge Debbie Yow,” Anderson said. “Longevity speaks for itself.”
Then he said: “Maryland athletics is in good shape. But we do have our challenges. It is my vision to take the program from good to great. It is my expectation to get everyone on the Maryland bus.”
Later, Anderson added, “We’re going to compete at the highest levels, and we’re going to compete to win. The University of Maryland does not finish second. We finish first in everything we do.”
He did, however, say the program would “be fiscally responsible.”
Anderson was hired after an extensive national search by a committee that included basketball coach Gary Williams, who was among those in attendance at Tuesday’s news conference.
“I’ve known a lot of people who have known him for a long time,” Williams said. “I think he brings a great deal of enthusiasm into the job and he understands how athletic departments work. I think any good athletic department is a team, just like any of our sports teams. It’s us together, each coach trying to do the best job he can with a strong leader like Kevin to make sure things happen.”
That is precisely the approach Anderson has in mind.
“Coaches are going to be involved in everything we do,” he said. “I’m going to talk to them and they’re going to talk to me about how they’re recruiting, about budgets. This is a team thing. Everybody is going to be in this together.”
Anderson worked at West Point since 2004, where he was responsible for a 25-sport program and more 900 cadet-athletes. Before that, he worked with athletic departments at Stanford, California and Oregon State.
President-Designate Dr. Wallace Loh never before hired an athletic director, but he said his experience in recruiting faculty members, deans and vice presidents made him realize Anderson was the right man for the job.
“At the end of the day, it’s not what they have done that makes the difference. It is their values and the content of their character,” Loh said.
Toward that end, Loh said Anderson put off taking the job until he could talk to his wife and pray. Then, Loh said, Anderson “accepted the position before we even talked about salary.”
Anderson did plenty at Army, including turning an operating deficit of more than $1 million into a surplus of $2.73 million.
But he never did find a way to get the football team to defeat Navy. For that reason, Anderson took particular delight in watching Maryland upset the Midshipmen 17-14 on Monday.
“It’s a great day to be a Terp,” he said. Then, pointing toward football coach Ralph Friedgen, Anderson added, “Great win yesterday coach. During my five years at Army, we never beat Navy. So thank you very much.”