Photos by Shawna Schill/UND Athletics
The week of January 8, four finalists were on campus to make their case to be the next athletics director at North Dakota. A few weeks before, plans were being finalized to make the press conference day as memorable and smooth as possible.
Weeks before the finalists were on campus, UND president Mark Kennedy identified Tuesday, January 16, as the target day for the press conference. This day would be the only shot for the university and athletics department to shine as it presented the new athletics director.
That day was already circled within the athletics department because the men’s basketball team was scheduled to play at North Dakota State University that night. With the rivalry game on the docket, it presented a unique opportunity that President Kennedy took advantage of. That opportunity was a pre-game dinner with Kennedy, UND first lady Debbie Kennedy, Chaves and his wife Liz, who flew to Fargo during the day to break bread with their counterparts at NDSU.
“We wanted to get the new AD in front of as many people as possible that day in a variety of settings,” said Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Kyle Doperalski. “The university and the athletics department have only one chance to make the day such a memorable experience for our fans, supporters, staff and the new athletics director himself. We are fortunate to have a lot of very passionate stakeholders and we wanted to include as many of them as possible in this monumental day in our department’s history. The pre-game dinner was the only directive from President Kennedy, so we had the morning and early afternoon to work in as many things as we could.”
January 16 Press Conference Timeline
7:15 a.m. – Kyle Doperalski meets Bill Chaves at the hotel and transports to Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA). Park in REA down the ramp.
7:30 – Breakfast with community leaders/donors – Suite Level Conference Room
8:45 – Review the agenda for the day
• Press conference and media availability prep, what to expect and address, how to address it, who media members are, what they might ask, etc.
9:00 – Photo Shoot with UND photographer Shawna Schill.
9:40 – Catch breath.
10:00 – Administrative staff/coaches meet and greet at REA.
10:20 – Small group of VIPs/Boosters meet at REA.
10:45 – Meet Peter Johnson and President Kennedy at REA administration office.
11:00 – Press Conference in REA Lobby.
11:25 – First Interview on UND Home of Economy radio network.
11:35 – Media availability in REA Lobby – interviews with WDAZ, KVLY, Grand Forks Herald.
12:15 – Call “Jack Michaels Show” KNFL.
12:30 – Call “Ryan Cunningham Show” KNOX.
12:45 – Walk to MidcoSN studio with sports information director Ryan Powell.
12:55 – Tape “Midco Sports Tonight” at MidcoSN Studio.
1:05 – Depart for Lunch with Powell.
1:20 – Lunch with SAAC Secretary and soccer player Bella Mantaro and head soccer coach Chris Logan at Buffalo Wild Wings.
2:20 – Sit Down and Cheer podcast with Powell and Doperalski at Buffalo Wild Wings
2:50 – Powell to transport Chaves to the hotel.
3:45 – Chaves checks out at the hotel, Doperalski picks up Chaves at the hotel, President Kennedy at Twamley, leave for Fargo.
5:30 – Dinner with President and Debbie Kennedy, NDSU counterparts – Kennedy’s transport to the game.
7:05 – Men’s Basketball Tip-off: UND @ NDSU – Tickets reserved by NDSU President Dean Bresciani – Kennedy’s transport to the hotel.