From P-Plant to Athletics: Dan Seabeck's journey
Five years ago, Dan Seabeck worked for P-Plant. This year, he was promoted to an assistant athletic director position.
On May 9, 2013, Dan Seabeck began the day like any other with a full grounds sweep of the Chiles Center and the Joe Etzel baseball field. Seabeck made sure that everything was in perfect shape for the day’s events. The only exception: He was accompanied by the United States Secret Service. Seabeck and his Physical Plant team were prepping Chiles to host a seminar featuring the Dalai Lama.
The biggest event of Seabeck’s time with Physical Plant was organizing the Dalai Lama’s visit. Working 18-hour days, the preparation for this event was meticulous with the added pressure from the Secret Service. Seabeck transformed the Chiles Center into an auditorium for hundreds and, at the end of the week, turned it back into a basketball arena.
“I was able to meet him and that was really cool,” Seabeck said.
When Dan Seabeck first started working for Physical Plant back in 2013, he never imagined being a part of the athletic department. Five years later, as of Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, he’s now the assistant athletic director of facilities and game operations.
This new position is directly below associate athletic director and gives Seabeck more authority within athletics. Not only will he oversee all game-day operations, but he will also be the one behind the scenes setting up contracts with visiting teams, settling small conflicts, designing new team jerseys and making everything runs smoothly.
“I don't think it's still fully quite sunk in,” Seabeck said of his promotion. “My wife says ‘you're still in denial, you earned this, you should be proud.’ It’s just another job, I’m just going to keep doing what I've been doing and work my butt off to do the best I can to make it be successful.”
His wife, Shelaina, and their three sons are a big external support system for Seabeck outside of the university. Seabeck is a family-oriented man; he took the job at Physical Plant to be closer to his family, who had stayed in North Portland while he traveled for work as a government contract worker before working for P-Plant.
Seabeck has been at the school for nearly six years. He started as lead supervisor for the events department within Physical Plant. Then in 2015, he moved up to the athletic department as operations and equipment coordinator.
As the supervisor for events for P-Plant, every day was different. At 8 a.m., he began the average days by a full grounds inspection: Chiles Center, Joe Etzel baseball field and, after its opening in 2015, the Beauchamp Recreation Center. His crew set up for everything, from small meetings in the Hall of Fame room to big concerts and guest speakers in Chiles.
Seabeck also helped set up up for the Neil Diamond concert that took place in Chiles in August 2015, right before he made the move to athletics.
“That was another fun one, just being such a big name,” Seabeck said. “It doesn't matter what generation you're from, people know that name so that was kind of fun working around that.”
Dan’s best memories at Physical Plant are with his crew members.
“We could joke with each other even though we'd been there for 16 hours on six hours of sleep.” Seabeck said. “We were all tired and cranky, but we all got along, did our jobs, did our work, and I think that was the best part.”
In August 2015, Dan was brought into the athletic department with the support of the former athletic director Buzz Stroud and former associate athletic director Gonzo Grasis.
“I was actually denied an interview at first,” Seabeck said of his first promotion. “Then a couple staff members within athletics spoke up and said ‘he's already been here for three years, he knows what he's doing,’ and I was able to get an interview.”
In this new role as assistant athletic director, Seabeck worked for each of the teams and oversaw student game-day assistants. He scheduled practices, games, meetings and coordinated with the visiting teams — he needed to be in constant communication with the coaches and staff.
“I'm kind of their go-to person,” Seabeck said. “If they can't figure it out, they just come find me.”
This new position also included more budgeting and more contact with Nike. He was also the main man for laundry, until he brought Kel McCandless onto the scene two years ago to help coordinate and organize, as well as do laundry and design the jerseys. Seabeck has full artistic reins in designing the uniforms every few years, with compliance to NCAA regulations.
Seabeck mentored McCandless, and McCandless was also recently elevated to fill the slot left open by Seabeck’s promotion.
“He’s just very up front and very honest about things,” McCandless said. “If there’s something that needs work or isn’t up to standards he’ll let you know and every time he does, he’s right. He’ll be quick to tell you you’re doing a great job.”
Grasis recently resigned from his position as associate athletic director, leaving an opening to lift Seabeck even further on the athletic department ladder.
“We've just always been impressed with Dan's can-do attitude,” Grasis said. “It was really nice to have somebody in the Physical Plant role in Chile’s Center.”
This year, he looks forward to watching each teams’ success not only on campus but in the conference, and to connect with the community of students and faculty.
When Grasis would come into the office on weekends, he would occasionally bring his son, “little Gonzo.”
“He would know exactly where Dan’s office was,” Grasis said. “He’d know exactly where he keeps the Matchbox cars that Dan’s boys played with.”
Seabeck has built a home within the Chiles Center and the athletic department.
“I probably spend more time here on campus than I do at home,” Seabeck said. “This is definitely a second family to me. Not just the co-workers, but even the students.”
Anna Wheeler, senior nursing student, has worked with Seabeck as a game assistant since her freshman year. She is one of many students who Seabeck has impacted.
“He definitely makes going to work something to look forward to,” Wheeler said. “I love my conversations with him because they're funny, and he knows things certain things about my life because we've gotten so close the last three and a half years that we'll just talk as if we were just buddies.”
Seabeck advocates for students and often takes on duties to lighten the loads of his student workers. He builds personal bonds with students that last beyond graduation.
Dan Seabeck still has graduated students who reach out and keep in touch through social media.
“They're willing to come say hi and not just blow you off as they walk by,” Seabeck said. “It’s knowing we've made those connections and it's going to last forever. Even if I'm not here, it’s still going to be there.”
Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.