Michael says EIU athletics is excited to work with Gatrell


Rob Le Cates | The Daily Eastern News

From left, Chris Wilkerson, Eastern’s newest head football coach, receives a jersey from EIU Athletic Director Tom Michael for becoming the football team’s new head coach at WIlkerson’s press conference on Friday in the Hall of Champions in Lantz Arena.

Luke Taylor, Senior Reporter

After what will be eight years of cooperation with university president David Glassman, athletic director Tom Michael is preparing to work with a new president.

On Saturday, Eastern’s Board of Trustees announced that current provost Jay Gatrell will become the university’s next commander in chief.

Michael says he can’t be sure how the new presidency will affect the athletics department’s budget until he and Gatrell have a chance to talk. Still, he’s optimistic about the years to come.

“[Gatrell] has expressed his full support of the balance student-athletes manage with their respective sports and the commitment they make in the classroom,” Michael said. “I think he will be great for the entire campus as he will be able to ‘hit the ground running’ when he fully assumes the role of president.”

The majority of Michael’s career at Eastern has been under Glassman’s leadership; Michael became the athletic director in 2014 and Glassman became president the following year. William Perry was the previous president.

Michael says he sees Gatrell’s familiarity with the athletics department and university as a whole as a good sign that he will understand students’ needs.

“My hope would be to work collaboratively with him on ways that we can help put EIU in a better place,” Michael said. “Whether that is helping find ways to recruit and retain students or any other way, when the institution overall is thriving, we all have a better opportunity to be successful.”

While he doesn’t have any specific issues he plans to bring to the table with Gatrell, Michael says he believes they can work together to improve the university.

“How do we take advantage of the areas that make EIU special and successful, to fully utilize them to enhance other areas that need to be addressed,” Michael said. “Dr. Gatrell’s perspective will be thoughtful and his leadership will be important as the institution takes the next steps over the next few years.”


Luke Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]