Former University of Oregon administrator Dan Williams looks at an overhead picture of the UO campus. Williams serves as a private consultant to the UO on athletics. (Sam Stites/Emerald)

If you can’t tell from my first post of the year … I’m a bit excited. I’m in a position that not many other student journalists find themselves. I have a topic that I’m deeply interested in and reach a multitude of sources with intimate knowledge of how college athletic programs are run.

This summer, I sat down with Athletic Director for marketing and public relations Craig Pintens  — and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the meeting. From what I understand, the athletic department is more than willing to work with me to be transparent. This will make my job infinitely easier, and I’m glad that they are on board.

Today, I was able to have coffee with former University of Oregon administrator Dan Williams, and I have to say that this guy is a gold mine of information and history on Oregon athletics. Williams served in a number of positions here at the UO but is most notably known as vice president of finance and administration from the early ’90s to about 2005.

He worked with the likes of former football coach Rich Brooks, former athletic director Bill Moos, former president Dave Frohnmayer, Pat Kilkenny and many other senior administrators and athletic directors at the UO. He also played an integral role in Nike chairman Phil Knight’s business relationship with the school.

After retiring in 2005, Williams stayed on as a special adviser to Frohnmayer as an athletic consultant until Frohnmayer stepped down in 2009. Today, he continues to advise the UO as a private consultant on athletics.

This morning, I spoke with Williams candidly about some of the issues surrounding the business side of college sports nationally. His experiences here at the UO provide an interesting point of view on the development of the college athletics market.

He talked about his role in finding a balance between academics and athletics and how he maintained open and public dialogues with all of his staff, including other vice presidents and the athletics administrators.

He said some very interesting things and promised we would talk again soon. As for specific quotes, you will all have to wait until my cover story on Oregon’s rise to national prowess.

More to come soon and keep following me as I continue to explore the business of college athletics.

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