By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University athletic director’s position is just the challenge Colorado native Jeff Geiser is seeking.
The third of four finalists to meet with university staff and students, Geiser was in Portales on Monday to answer questions about what he might bring to the ENMU athletic department.
As a former athletic director at Adams State in Alamosa, Colo., where he still lives, Geiser stressed his ability to drum up funds at a Division II school.
“Every meeting I was in today, every concern always seemed to come back to the almighty dollar,” Geiser said. “I think one thing I bring to the table is that I can raise money in an environment very similar to the Portales/Clovis area.”
Geiser, who received a doctorate in sports administration from the University of New Mexico in 1995, was the head football coach at Adams State from 1984 to 1996 before he moved on to be the school’s athletic director.
“If the strategies we implemented in Alamosa could work there, there’s no reason to think it couldn’t work here,” he said.
Since retiring from the Colorado school in 2008, Geiser has served as a sales representative for Gilman Gear.
“Sales is good and the private sector is fine. I’m not challenged though,” Geiser said. “Maybe there’s something wrong in my psyche that feels like you’ve got to be challenged in life. I don’t think I’m using my talents to the utmost of my ability.
“I also miss the college atmosphere. The enthusiasm and vitality of a college campus is really unique and I do miss that.”
Geiser said that he believed that the track and field program, among others, was a ripe area for improvement at ENMU.
He also asserted that the school’s affiliation with the Lone Star Conference, where the Greyhounds and Zias have struggled over the past two years, is one that should be continued.
“It’s where we need to be. I know there’s been some discussions of maybe moving around. From what I know of the situation, Eastern New Mexico needs to be in the Lone Star,” Geiser said.
“I know Dr. Gamble (Stephen Gamble, ENMU president) has been able to get the football team moved into the North Division and that should help,” he continued. “But our high visible sports — men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, volleyball — they’re funded, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to compete and succeed.”
The other finalists are:
* Kenneth Oliver, the athletic director and vice president of campus life at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo.
* Richard Kaiser, athletic director at Defiance College in Ohio.
* Wayne Baker, executive director of the National Junior College Athletic Association since 2004.