Scott Wetherbee was named vice president and director of athletics on June 26. The 42-year-old Wetherbee, a native of Kalamazoo, has more than 20 years’ experience in collegiate athletic administration. He spent the past four years at Mississippi State University, including serving as interim director of athletics from October-November 2016.
Q: What attracted you to Eastern Michigan?
A: When I started to really look into EMU, I realized that in the past few years the momentum in the athletic department and the university was shifting in a very positive direction. That started to get me excited about this opportunity. The icing on the cake was the Championship Building Plan. Knowing that I could come in and help make that a reality and touch so many of our student-athletes, well, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I learned about the challenges here, but I feel like I’m the right person to take them on and roll up my sleeves with our staff to work through them.
Q: What strengths do you feel you bring to the Eagle athletic program?
A: Every place I’ve been, we’ve had to outwork our peers. I started in the ticket office and worked my way up through marketing. My primary focus has always been on the experience, whether it’s a student-athlete, a fan or an employee. I want student-athletes to love being on an athletic team at Eastern, I want fans to love coming to our athletic events, and I want our staff to love to come to work every day. We are going to be as creative as possible in making our game-day fan experience the best in the MAC and, eventually, the country.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing Eastern Michigan athletics?
A: One of the biggest challenges is ourselves, and not just in athletics. We need to truly believe this place can be special and successful. I want our entire department, entire student body, and the entire university to be excited about Eastern. Obviously, resources are always one of the challenges. We need students, staff, fans, and donors to believe in and support us now more than ever. With some hard work and commitment, we can transform this athletic department and this university in the next few years.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: Everything I try to do starts from my heart. I truly care about all of my staff and all of our 500-plus student athletes, and I want to create a family atmosphere that allows us to trust each other and know that we have each other’s back. I try to hire really talented people and let them do their job. And our defining principles must always be kept in mind: focus on the student-athlete, possess great integrity and aggressively promote Eastern Michigan University.
Q: What is something EMU fans and alumni should know about you?
A: That I am one of them. I grew up in Kalamazoo in a modest home and worked extremely hard to earn this opportunity. I will give 100 percent to this university and this department.
If you hadn’t gone into athletics, what would you be doing? “Growing up, I always thought I would be a baseball coach or an accountant.”
What was your first job? “Besides mowing lawns and delivering papers when I was young, I worked in a factory pleating the paper for air filters.”
What is one song people would be surprised you know the words to? “My go-to karaoke song is ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers.”
Which is worse, no Internet or no phone? “Phone.”
Who is your personal hero? “My mom.”
What show do you binge-watch? “Criminal Minds.”
If you’re making dinner, what are we having? “Something on the grill. Probably ribs.”
What is the best advice you ever got? “It’s not about you, it’s about them.”
What is your proudest accomplishment? “Professionally, seeing people I’ve hired move up and be successful; personally, watching who my kids are becoming.”