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Sept. 30, 2009

This season, is providing Miami fans with a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of Miami football. Before each home game, we will take a look at one of the areas that contributes to a successful Saturday. We start the series looking at Jude Killy and how sporting events are critical to the athletic department's development efforts.

Jude Killy, Miami University's Director of Development, came to Miami in 2008. Killy, who is from the city of Oxford, received a BA from John Carroll University in 1995, and also received a MSA from Ohio University in 1998. After completing these degrees, Killy worked for the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors as an Assistant Administrator for four years before he moved to the University of Pittsburgh where he served as the Director of Athletic Development for three years, and then as the Director of the Annual Fund for two years. (MU): What about athletics appealed to you that made you choose it as your career?
Jude Killy (JK): I always loved sports as a kid, seeing the positive role they could play in life - showing teamwork, building confidence, etc. I also enjoyed following them so I gravitated to a field that allowed me to be supportive of athletics and student-athletes.

MU People outside of athletics may not know what development is. Could you explain what exactly development is?
JK: Development is about providing resources for people. We are here for the University and for student-athletes so we try to make their experience as developmental and memorable as possible. We try and get people to contribute their resources - not just their money - to help accomplish this goal. It is about getting people to realize their contributions make a difference in the lives of the student-athletes here at Miami University.

MU: Why did you choose development?
JK: To be perfectly honest, development chose me. I was working at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and I got a phone call from Pitt (University of Pittsburgh) to help in donor outreach. I worked in that role for two and a half years and I wasn't involved in actually generating revenue at the time. I asked my boss what I needed to do in order to advance in my career and she told me I needed to prove I could generate revenue. Once I had experience in the ask, I realized I enjoy development for the opportunity to help student-athletes and coaches in providing needed resources.

MU: What is your favorite aspect of development?
JK: I love interacting with the student-athletes. I love to translate the interactions that I have with them to the donors. I also enjoy engaging with the student-athlete alumni. It's nice to see them and fun to catch up with them and see how they are doing and how they have continued to grow since their undergraduate years.

MU: What are some of the challenges you face in development?
JK: The economy has definitely impacted it. It really has not affected the number of folks that give to athletic; it has impacted the contribution level. There are also other intangibles that impact giving - such as tax laws, team performance and more.

MU: What kinds of duties do you have on game days?
JK: Basically, I try to visit with as many folks as possible. Before the football games, we host people in the Red & White Club tent. We also host people in the Athletic Department's suite during the football games. We generally also help out with some of the on-field presentations.

MU: Do you have any experience playing sports?

JK: I actually played soccer at John Carroll University for two years. John Carroll is a Division III school in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of University Heights. When I was a kid I played quite a few different sports. I ran track, played basketball, baseball, and of course soccer.

MU: What is your favorite sport?
JK: As a fan, I like professional baseball the most. I am an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs. I like all sports though because there is a winner and a loser. It is the intrigue of watching two or teams or individuals pitted against one another to see who comes away with the victory. I pretty much enjoy anything where there is a winner and a loser involved.

MU: Who is your sports hero?
JK: I am a huge Chicago sports fan, so my sports heroes were naturally those that played sports for Chicago teams. My favorite sports hero is Walter Payton. He was such a special talent. Of course I didn't know him, but he always seemed like such a classy guy. Payton was also the hardest worker out of all the players. While other guys were taking time off, Payton was pulling wheel barrows full of wood up hills in order to stay in shape. Other players that I admired growing up were Ryne Sandberg, who was the second baseman for the Cubs in the 80's and 90's. Obviously, I loved those Bulls championship teams from the 90's and I absolutely love Michael Jordan and of course Miami University's own Ron Harper was my hometown idol in the 1980s.

MU: If you weren't in athletic development, what would you be doing?
JK: The only other thing that I contemplated doing was working for a construction company in some capacity. There is something about building and constructing things that is very fulfilling to me.

MU: If you could spend a day with any famous person you wanted, who would it be?
JK: I know it's not possible any more, but I wish I would've been able to spend a day with Walter Payton. I also think it would have been nice to hang out with some people that made a difference with their lives and in American history such as Muhammad Ali or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MU: Why did you choose Walter Payton to spend a day with?
JK: I always thought Walter Payton had two distinct sides and he knew the appropriate times to use both. After and before the games, he would always laugh and joke around with the media, but come game time, he was always very well prepared and had a very serious demeanor. He outworked everyone and was always prepared for any occasion.

This week's interview was conducted by Wade Hinkle, an intern in the Event Operations Office of Miami Athletics.