How ISU Became a Football School

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dpdoughbird06
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Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:32 pm

Great piece by Bryan Bloodworth. Interviews with Bowman, Zenger, and Spack going back 10-15 years and looking at how - and why - ISU decided to build its football brand.

http://wglt.org/post/beyond-basketball- ... m#stream/0

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isuquinndog
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Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:15 am

Good article. I like Spack saying we won't win at all costs. Nice to hear him say that.
LET'S WIN THIS GAME!

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Birdfan 4Life
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:44 pm

This article should be published in the ISU Alumni magazine, Pantagraph, Goredbirds, any IL paper that needs good content. Really well done article.


Is the program where Spack envisioned it would be nine years later?

“Yep, I still think there’s a lot of untapped potential here,” he said matter-of-factly. “As I said a year after I took the job, this is even a better job. There’s more ceiling to go. There’s more to be reached and more to be done to make it even better than it is today.”

:clap: :clap: :clap:

“One of the things we did early on was change the rules on tailgating to allow people to consume alcohol and really create the kind of atmosphere people come to expect at college football games. And the fans have responded. People started coming back and we saw lots of improvement. I think Dr. Zenger and I saw it as an opportunity to showcase what Illinois State had," Bowman said.

Seems silly now but we have come a long way, Tailgaiting/Fun drives the atmosphere for football Saturday's.



“A culture needed to be cultivated here, particularly how Illinois State football players viewed their education,” he continued. “We needed to change our view of what our role was. Not just on the football field, but in the community and academic side.

“There was a standard that was going to be set that needed to be reached. Overall, our mentality needed to be that we needed to conform to what the university needs to see from us.

“I want guys who fit the blueprint of the university first in our football program. Our faculty needed to know that and our administration academically needed to know that and we were going to abide by the culture of Illinois State University and get kids in here that would live in that culture and thrive in that culture.
"

Where is Fourth&S when you need him with the APR rankings.
"“I think Illinois State has a lot of potential in football that has been untapped. When it comes time to move up to [the Bowl series level], it will happen, I truly believe that with my heart." - Al Bowman April 15, 2011

fourthandshort
Senior
Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:16 pm

I can take a cue .. and I humbly submit Articles 1 thru 7 into evidence:

7. Football Illinois State University IL 2015-2016 969
6. Football Illinois State University IL 2014-2015 970
5. Football Illinois State University IL 2013-2014 972
4. Football Illinois State University IL 2012-2013 958
3. Football Illinois State University IL 2011-2012 953
2. Football Illinois State University IL 2010-2011 943
1. Football Illinois State University IL 2009-2010 939

And notice both the trend line and that we went from last to first within 5 years, and held that for 3 straight years now.

p.s. OSBF is nowhere to be found .. especially when stuff like this is being discussed. But first hint of smoke, and he'll be back crowing like a rooster at dawn.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

dpdoughbird06
Freshman
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:21 am

Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:01 pm

Birdfan 4Life wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:44 pm
This article should be published in the ISU Alumni magazine, Pantagraph, Goredbirds, any IL paper that needs good content. Really well done article.


Is the program where Spack envisioned it would be nine years later?

“Yep, I still think there’s a lot of untapped potential here,” he said matter-of-factly. “As I said a year after I took the job, this is even a better job. There’s more ceiling to go. There’s more to be reached and more to be done to make it even better than it is today.”

:clap: :clap: :clap:

“One of the things we did early on was change the rules on tailgating to allow people to consume alcohol and really create the kind of atmosphere people come to expect at college football games. And the fans have responded. People started coming back and we saw lots of improvement. I think Dr. Zenger and I saw it as an opportunity to showcase what Illinois State had," Bowman said.

Seems silly now but we have come a long way, Tailgaiting/Fun drives the atmosphere for football Saturday's.



“A culture needed to be cultivated here, particularly how Illinois State football players viewed their education,” he continued. “We needed to change our view of what our role was. Not just on the football field, but in the community and academic side.

“There was a standard that was going to be set that needed to be reached. Overall, our mentality needed to be that we needed to conform to what the university needs to see from us.

“I want guys who fit the blueprint of the university first in our football program. Our faculty needed to know that and our administration academically needed to know that and we were going to abide by the culture of Illinois State University and get kids in here that would live in that culture and thrive in that culture.
"

Where is Fourth&S when you need him with the APR rankings.
The tailgate culture transformation was not without its speed bumps. I recall a sea of Keystone Light cans halfway up to my knees spanning the entire East parking lot after the Homecoming game maybe eight years ago. The swarm of humanity was so dense it was nearly impossible to find the entrance - which mattered little to most of the folks out there.

Thankfully lessons were learned from this - and Hancock 2.0 dispersed the party elsewhere a few years later. When you walk a tailgate next year notice the lines drawn down the middle of the rows that keep people moving. And the ISU Police on their gators? That's a relatively recent phenomenon borne out of past mayhem, as well.

Best part: ISU Football has generally been very good and Protected the Nest - and the tailgate wraps up sometime in the first quarter and now moves into a sold-out (or close) Hancock.

How far we've come, indeed...

Reggie
Freshman
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Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:14 pm

I think it gets lost from time to time now, but it really is impressive how Spack has raised the expectations of the program. We have reached the point where if we don't make the playoffs, then people are looking for answers and changes. Many would have been happy with this year in the past.

Redbird Ray
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Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 am

I think Bowman was being nice in the article. He and Zenger were talking about exploring FBS back in 2005-06. I’m sure back then he thought we might be in FBS by 2018.

This isn’t meant to discredit anything else from the article. The expectations on the field have grown dramatically over the past 15 years, and as others have mentioned, the game-day atmosphere is one of the best in the state now.

While I would love for ISU to start putting all of its eggs in the football basket, so to speak (and stop with this charade of ISU being a bball school), I question whether this is the right thing for FCS/G5 schools to do. Given the questionable long-term viability of tackle football as we currently know it, decisions on pumping tens of millions of dollars into the sport need to be taken with some serious perspective right now.

fourthandshort
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Posts: 866
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:28 am

Redbird Ray wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 am
I think Bowman was being nice in the article. He and Zenger were talking about exploring FBS back in 2005-06. I’m sure back then he thought we might be in FBS by 2018.

This isn’t meant to discredit anything else from the article. The expectations on the field have grown dramatically over the past 15 years, and as others have mentioned, the game-day atmosphere is one of the best in the state now.

While I would love for ISU to start putting all of its eggs in the football basket, so to speak (and stop with this charade of ISU being a bball school), I question whether this is the right thing for FCS/G5 schools to do. Given the questionable long-term viability of tackle football as we currently know it, decisions on pumping tens of millions of dollars into the sport need to be taken with some serious perspective right now.
I recall a comment made by a USD fan on AGS who came to our homecoming game this year. He said he has been to many USD road games and finally made it to ISU for 1st time. He was stunned to witness how much was going on both inside and even moreso, outside the stadium. I think this speaks to the 2 main themes of this article

1. ISU football progress - considering how much expectations have been elevated for football teams both on the field and in the class room .. disappointment is very relative to those expectations being higher. The last 2 years are prime examples .. 2017 SHOULD have been a playoff run year, but it was not. So Spack cleaned house.

2. characterization of Redbird football being a sleeping giant - this one is more complicated. Despite all the progress, there are still major obstacles to clear if we are too break thru .. donor and fan base need to grow.

For me, the next step is 100% clear to me ... iMultipurpose Indoor facility .. get er dun soon !!!!!!!!!! Pour everything into this initiative if we want to Redbird Nation to continue Rising.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

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Chi-bird
Sophomore
Posts: 231
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:32 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:57 am

Redbird Ray wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 am

While I would love for ISU to start putting all of its eggs in the football basket, so to speak (and stop with this charade of ISU being a bball school), I question whether this is the right thing for FCS/G5 schools to do. Given the questionable long-term viability of tackle football as we currently know it, decisions on pumping tens of millions of dollars into the sport need to be taken with some serious perspective right now.
You're absolutely right. :text-+1:

Here's hoping football can withstand the uncertain times and adapt without losing much of what makes it so great.

ISUBU
Freshman
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:33 pm

Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:00 pm

Redbird Ray wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:23 am
While I would love for ISU to start putting all of its eggs in the football basket, so to speak (and stop with this charade of ISU being a bball school), I question whether this is the right thing for FCS/G5 schools to do. Given the questionable long-term viability of tackle football as we currently know it, decisions on pumping tens of millions of dollars into the sport need to be taken with some serious perspective right now.
fourthandshort wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:28 am
For me, the next step is 100% clear to me ... iMultipurpose Indoor facility .. get er dun soon !!!!!!!!!! Pour everything into this initiative if we want to Redbird Nation to continue Rising.
The more expensive it is, the more important that it truly be multipurpose. In the end, that's the problem with Horton. The fixed concrete seating on the sides of the building limit its use. I don't think it is even the right shape for indoor track. A spacious, covered, turf field can be used in so many ways.

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