UP Welcomes New Athletic Director Scott Leykam

By The Beacon | August 29, 2012 9:00pm

Newly-appointed Athletic Director Scott Leykam looks to hit the ground running by having an open door policy with students and athletes

Freshly hired Athletic Director Scott Leykam addresses the media at his introductory press conference on his plans to reach out to students, community and athletes. Leykam previously served as an Associate Commissioner for the WCC (Photo courtesy of portlandpilots.com)

By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer marcello13@up.edu

From the students in the stands, the athletes making them cheer to the workers selling hotdogs, new University of Portland Athletic Director Scott Leykam is looking to bring positive changes and an increased sense of community.

"I want to enhance the fan, alumni and community impact. From concessions to tickets to parking to timeouts, we will do everything in our power to make people want to come back," Leykam said.

This summer, UP President Fr. Bill Beauchamp announced his choice for the Athletic Director position to the UP community. Leykam is filling the vacancy left by current Marquette athletic director, Larry Williams.

Leykam's prior experiences include working for Stanford University from 1995-2008, primarily being involved with public relations and fundraising for the athletic department. His most recent experience has been in the West Coast Conference working as an associate commissioner and senior associate commissioner for the Conference.

In working with the WCC, Leykam already has connections with UP's athletic staff, which has given him an idea of what the program is like currently and the direction it is intending to go.

"Coming in, I had already worked with the University's athletic department so it has been a lot of testing assumptions," Leykam said. "In some cases, I am correct and in others it's good to investigate. A big part of the job is taking in as much info as you can. I am fortunate to follow people like Larry [Williams] and Joe Etzel, who did very good things with the job."

The staff is just as excited for Leykam to join and contribute to University of Portland athletics.

"He is familiar with the conference and the competition, so he will be able to hit the ground running," men's basketball head coach Eric Reveno said. "He knows each department and what we do well, so he has a good feel for UP. I'm excited for his vision to build on being UP, not copying other programs."

Leykam has plans on enhancing the careers of UP athletes and fans alike by being open and accommodating to all students.

"I want to offer a first class student-athlete experience, from recruiting to graduation, allowing student-athletes the most success possible when leaving The Bluff," Leykam said. "I want to have a campus impact. We have an opportunity to play a positive role on campus life for every student worker, student-athlete and all of our fans."

Together, Reveno and Leykam are looking to reach out to students and hear ideas that will improve the fan experience.

"[Leykam] is very open to meet with student groups who want to get involved with athletics," Reveno said. "If students see opportunities to build on the fan experience, he has an open door and he'll spend the time to get to know you and hear your ideas."

Leykam cites the soccer program as a leader and building point for the student fan base to extend into other sports because of its national success and recognition.

"The role students play for our soccer program is special. Now what if we carry it over to sports like basketball?" Leykam said. "I will take the opportunity to meet with key student leaders to move that forward."

Leykam's open door approach to students and the athletic department is sure to bring some positive additions to the Pilot fan and athlete experience, allowing UP to continue expanding its growth in WCC competition.