There will be a raucous soldout crowd cheering for the Jays in the CHI Health Center again soon.
New Creighton athletic director Marcus Blossom definitely has thought about that. And he can't wait.
"I think that's what I'm looking forward to the most — a fervent environment," Blossom said. "And not just for me, the student-athletes love that. That's what gets them going."
Blossom was announced last week as CU's athletic director. He'll officially start Sept. 27.
It appears that the Jays swapped one basketball junkie — Bruce Rasmussen coached the women's game and eventually helped shape men's hoops with his various NCAA roles — for another.
Blossom's a former Chicago-area high school standout who ended up 12th on Northeastern's all-time scoring chart. If he has free time during the winter, he said he's normally sitting on his couch watching hoops. (He was also a Noon-ball regular while at Boston College so we'll see if he joins in on the regular CU staff pick-up games here).
Blossom said he'd never met coach Greg McDermott before last week — but like many basketball fans following the college game, he's noticed the Jays' recent rise. He was complimentary last week when he spoke about how quickly McDermott's program was able to establish itself in a major conference.
"It just shows the commitment and dedication that Creighton has made," Blossom said. "That's what makes this such a stellar job."
Blossom chatted with reporters for a little over 10 minutes after his introductory press conference last week. A few of the highlights are below.
>> Obviously, men's basketball is the flagship sport at CU. But one of the reasons why Blossom was interested in this athletic director job: the department-wide success.
That's the benefit of replacing a Bluejay icon like Rasmussen, Blossom said.
You accept the job ... and a few days later, your volleyball team starts 6-0 for the first time in program history and the men's soccer team gets its first-ever win over a No. 1-ranked opponent.
Big shoes to fill? Yes!
But on the flip side, there's no mess to clean up.
"(Replacing a legend) is better than taking over a bad job," Blossom said. "That's how I looked at it. I looked at the positive. He's done a great job. He's set us up for success so we can take the ball and keep moving it forward."
>> Blossom said he's always had an eye on Creighton. If the job ever came open, he planned to go for it.
That helped him act fast last month, Blossom said. Because in this industry, you're typically not expecting to make a career move in late-July.
"The fact that I had already understood Creighton — it was already a job that I respected and I could see myself at — made me more comfortable with moving quickly," Blossom said.
>> How does Blossom judge his coaches? He said there are three main areas to consider: the coach's impact on students, the win-loss record and the passion/work ethic on display.
>> Blossom did comment on Creighton's recent NCAA violations. The Jays were sanctioned in June. So he takes over a program currently on a two-year probation.
Said Blossom: "If that was an issue, I wouldn't be here. Every place I've been we've done things the right way. Every program has had some missteps but how they responded has been great. And if you look at the track record, it hasn't happened ever. I'm comfortable with that. I love the integrity of this place."