Athletics News

Ask the AD

Jan. 26, 2011

Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan welcomes your questions about Rice Athletic and will answer them online on a regular basis. If you'd like to submit a question in the future, please go to our online form and submit your question

How do people get started working in an athletic department. Internship? Are there entry level jobs that begin the process up? Do you need a business degree to get to the higher level positions like Athletic Director? Or, does having sports knowledge and a desire to make your department better get you places?


There is really no required degree track or professional path to enter athletics administration or to become an Athletic Director. I think there are several degree programs which transfer well into today's collegiate athletic department - sports administration, business, education, law, etc. - and because the field has become so competitive, I would recommend an advanced degree, especially if your aspirations are to enter the more technical side of the department (compliance, business, etc.). The other reason an advanced degree is important because it includes a component of practical experience which oftentimes serves as entry point into a first job or at the least provides very important practical experience. Generally speaking, athletics is a business which usually begins with a volunteer internship and over time develops into a fulltime position and a career.

How can I get athletic scholarship for soccer from Rice?


Rice sponsors scholarships in women's soccer only and does not sponsor a men's team. Our new head women's soccer coach is Nicky Adams and there is information on our women's soccer program on our athletic website. If you are interesting in learning about other universities that offer men's soccer, please refer to the NCAA website at and access to the links that references men's soccer.

I am looking for a good orthopedic surgeon with specialty in foot & ankle surgery. Can you tell me the name of the orthopedic specialist Rice use to take care of the athletes there?


Dr. Leland A. Winston is our medical director and an orthopedic surgeon. His office number is 713-441-3460.

Our daughter is interested in attending Rice. She is a star athletic in basketball and lacrosse and an A student. What is the best way to introduce her to your Department ?


While we do not sponsor a lacrosse program, I would recommend that your daughter reach out to our women's basketball program by sending an email with all of her contact information and athletic and academic accomplishments to Ms. Ashley Armstrong who is our Director of Operations. She will pass along her information to our coaching staff. Ms. Armstrong's email is

Have all your senior scholarships for Football Athletics been accepted for your 2011 recruitment?


The NCAA allows each Division 1A (Football Bowl Subdivision) program to have a maximum of 85 student-athletes on scholarship and cannot grant more than 25 in a given year. The process of determining who is offered a scholarship is handled by our football coaching staff. Since National Letter-of-Intent signing day is next Wednesday, it is too late in the process for 2011. I would suggest sending an email to our Football Recruiting Coordinator Rick LaFavers at to inquire about our 2012 recruiting.

I know Rice looking at changing the non-conference football schedule for 2011, but I would like the Purdue home game to be retained. It is a marquee home game with a Big 10 school, and that doesn't happen often.


Our current non-conference schedule features a home game with Purdue and road games at Texas, Baylor and Northwestern. As I have pointed out in previous questions, there are a lot of factors involved in non-conference scheduling and games being moved - in today's environment, the recent changes in conference alignment has precipitated a number of changes. We will finalize our schedule sometime in the early spring and will announce it publicly once Conference USA finalizes the conference schedule.

What is the Women's Soccer Coach's email address?


Our head coach is Nicky Adams and her email address is .

Have you thought about nominating Travis Bradshaw for a Rhodes Scholarship next year? I really like his walk-on story along with his academic credentials.


Travis has been outstanding representative of Rice University both athletically and academically evidenced by his Academic All-American and All-Conference USA accolades. As far as nominating him for a Rhodes Scholarship, our Academic Advising staff works collaboratively with our University in presenting student-athletes for national academic honors. I agree with you, Travis is an excellent story and one that anyone associated with or is a fan of collegiate athletics can be very proud of.

I would like to know the name of the 1971 rice basketball coach


Our basketball coach in 1971 was Don Knodel. Don coached the Owls from 1966 through 1974 and led the Owls to a Southwest Conference title in 1970.

In terms of improving the quality and reputation of Rice athletics programs (winning), what is your philosophy as an AD? As an example, do place a priority on vastly improving facilities with the hopes of attracting better recruits?


I think improving the success of an athletic department - as you describe as "winning" - is multi-faceted and is impacted by many things including facilities. I do think what is most important is that you always keep the academic mission and the reputation of the University at the forefront of any decision that may impact the competitiveness of your athletic department. My philosophy is that the success of any athletic program starts with people...the coaches who lead our athletic programs and the student-athletes who represent them. My job is to make sure that our coaches and student-athletes have the tools to be successful. As stated earlier, there are many things involved in success - budget, scheduling, academic and physical training support, facilities, etc. Nationally, there has been a great deal of emphasis placed on facilities improvements in the past 20 years not only to serve the training needs of the student-athletes and coaches, but for recruiting as a means to attract student-athletes to your institution. In my opinion, facilities have become one of the key barometers for an institution's commitment to athletics; therefore, they have become an important component to successful athletics programs and must be addressed accordingly.

My son is interested in attending Rice University and would like to play baseball. He is currently a Junior in high school with very good grades. Do you have a baseball camp that he may be able to attend?


We have excellent baseball camps at different times during the year. Please contact our Director of Baseball Operations LeAnn Lassiter at (713) 348-8864 and for information.

Will we ever see the University of Texas play at Rice Stadium again?


You never want to say never about anything, but I don't see it happening in the foreseeable future. After 2011, we have only one more game with Texas on the books (at Austin 2015) and we are scheduled out well into the future.

After having a whole box for 40 years, we cut back to 2 seats this year. We were moved to Row 39, Aisle 105 where the seats are still wooden. We had splinters and paint flecks on our clothes after the game. We were then moved us to some aluminum seats on Aisle 106 and we're happy, but that whole wooden section needs to be replaced.


There are a number of maintenance issues with Rice Stadium that need to be addressed. As I pointed out in a question in a previous writing, we are doing an overall assessment and evaluation of the stadium and the training support facility for our student-athletes. At this time our priority is to address the aspects of the stadium complex that directly impacts our student-athletes first. At the same time, we understand the needs for some targeted maintenance and repair in order to address the issues you pointed out in your question. I am happy that we were able to accommodate you with some different seats and we very much appreciate your support of Rice Athletics.

I wanted to know why the stadium is closed to the public now. I heard there was a few people littering and such and hence it was shut down. I am sure many others would be willing to pay for some kind of permit to use the stairs for exercise purposes. I really miss being able to go there and I think it would be a great show of goodwill to the surrounding community.


The stadium is closed to the general public because as you state littering, health concerns and people accessing the stadium with no monitoring or consideration of what is being conducted at the time. Before the stadium was closed, there were of vandalism and incidents of broken glass and animal waste being embedded in the playing surface and people using the stadium during football practice. Due to the fact that it is not practical for us to monitor the activities in the stadium - especially activities with liability concerns - at all times, the decision was made prior to my arrival to close the stadium which I fully support. While we understand that there are many people in the community who enjoyed using the stadium, it is just not prudent for us to make it available for open public use.

I'm really interested in joining the football team. Does the football team have a practice squad or a scout team? If they do, what are the requirements do be on that team. Do they accept anyone?


Our football program does have a walk-on try out program for fulltime Rice University students only. The walk-on program is managed by our football staff. To learn more, contact Director of Football Operations Jerry Pickle at or (713) 348-6903.



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