UW-Milwaukee to Interview Plinske for AD Position


By Justin Woodard


UW-Whitewater Athletic Director Paul Plinske has seen several UW-Whitewater varsity athletic teams claim both WIAC and national titles during his tenure, many of which can be attributed partly to the athletic program Plinske helped build. As all professionals do, Plinske is now looking forward in his career for opportunities to grow as an athletic director.

Plinske, along with two other candidates, will be interviewing for the Athletic Director position at UW-Milwaukee this week, and for Plinske, this might feel like déjà vu. Plinske was a candidate for the same position in 2010. Rick Costello was offered and accepted the position, but Costello’s recent resignation has opened the door again for Plinske to reapply.

“I heard the job was open back in April 2012, and I have followed [UW-Milwaukee] close enough to know some of the internal dynamics,” Plinske said. “I was a part of the mix in 2010, and it’s something that is really interesting to me, so we will see what comes of it.”

According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Plinske will be running against Amanda Braun and Jim Schmidt. Braun, a Wisconsin native, is the Northeastern University executive senior associate athletic director who worked at UW-Green Bay from 1999-2006. Schmidt has been the AD for 15 years at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Plinske has been the athletic director at UW-Whitewater since 2004, and the Warhawks have been competitive in every sport under his management.

“Whitewater has given me a tremendous opportunity to develop great relationships on campus, not only with our coaches, staff and our student athletes, but also with the people that support us across campus and in our community,” Plinske said.

The money put into UW-Whitewater’s athletic facilities embodies the level of fundraising Plinske looks to mirror if offered the position at UW-Milwaukee.  Plinske oversaw an $8 million outdoor sport complex renovation which included a new Fiskum Soccer Field and Foster Track Complex, installation of field turf and lighting at Perkins Stadium, new turf and lighting at Miller stadium, and a new diamond and supporting areas for the Van Steenderen Softball Complex.

“We are a top-10 D-III program, and we operate at a very high level,” Plinske said. “We have a tremendous group of coaches and student-athletes that are performing extremely well, so there is a tremendous amount of respect for what UW-Whitewater is doing and they want to see if that is a good fit at their campus in Milwaukee.”

Some of Plinske’s hires include women’s volleyball head coach Stacy Boudreau, who led the Warhawks to a national championship in 2005 and national runner-up in 2007, and football head coach Lance Leipold, who has led the Warhawks to multiple national championships, including three of the last five.

“(Plinske) deserves this opportunity to explore what’s best for his family and career goals,” Leipold said. “His work here speaks for itself. He has been outstanding to work with.”

While Plinske has held his position at UW-Whitewater, the Warhawks have won eight national championships, including football, men’s basketball and gymnastics last year, as well as six national runner-ups. During his tenure, 11 individuals have been named national champions, and 12 staff members have received National Coach of the Year honors.

“We initiate the Power by Tradition brand here at UW-Whitewater, and it has been a tremendous slogan for us, but it really embodies what we are all about,” Plinske said.

“We are about the student-athlete experience about being able to compete for championships and be able to perform well academically and be great community servants,” Plinske said.

Plinske interviewed on UW-Milwaukee’s campus Tuesday, Feb. 12, and the other candidates will be interviewed throughout the week. Plinske said it might be a few weeks until UW-Milwaukee announces its decision.  If Plinske leaves UW-Whitewater, he said he hopes to maintain relationships he has built over the years with colleagues.

“My life-long friends are here, and they are people who have treated me with the utmost respect and care, and I hope I have reciprocated that back to them,” Plinske said. “It is really about the people that I will be most fond of.”