Julie Cromer has been one of the busiest employees on campus for the last month.
The former University of Arkansas senior deputy athletics director was hired as Ohio University’s new athletic director in August and has spent the last month compiling interviews, listening to alumni and observing the student-athlete environment.
“It’s only been about a month, but it feels like it’s been longer,” Cromer said in an interview with The Post. “People have been very eager to talk about a place they obviously love and believe in. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Cromer has had over two dozen meetings with personnel within the athletic department since her first official day on Aug. 31. She’s also met with hundreds of alumni donors, student-athlete leadership groups and coaches.
All of that has been part of her “100 Day Plan,” which she established to immerse herself into the culture within the Ohio athletic department. That was the first process Cromer wanted to complete after replacing Jim Schaus, who stepped down in June to become the commissioner of the Southern Conference after serving as Ohio’s athletic director since 2008.
A large chunk of those “meetings” have been during athletic events. At a field hockey match, she sat down with the women’s soccer team who was in attendance. At a home football game, she spoke with student athletes from the swimming team.
“I get that I have a little bit of, you know, an uncool factor,” Cromer jokingly said,” but they’ve been really welcoming and a lot of fun.”
Cromer hasn’t looked for the big picture when she’s had personal conversations with student athletes. She’s simply asked about where they’re from, what they study and what they consider to be the biggest task for the upcoming week.
She also plans to meet with the coaching staff for each of the 16 programs in October and examine all athletic facilities.
“I want to get a sense of what the team culture and identity is,” Cromer said. “All of (the athletic programs) are in different stages of their competitive cycles.”
Cromer doesn’t plan to implement any significant changes within the athletic department until those first 100 days end. For now, she wants to continue gathering as much information as possible about her new role.
“I’ve learned an enormous amount in the last five weeks or so, but there’s more digging and understanding to do,” Cromer said. “My sense is that by the end of this fall semester, I would’ve worked my way through that timeline and begin to synthesize some thoughts and impressions a bit more concretely.”