When Dr. Brandon Martin became the new UMKC athletic director, he laid out his 100-day vision for the department in terms of attendance and fundraising to help the program leap into the future.
“The 100-day vision starts with looking, listening and learning,” said Martin. “It’s doing a full assessment of our staff and coaches and making sure everything we do is in line with Chancellor Agrawal’s mission for the university.”
Martin hopes to get all 16 UMKC sports into the top-100 nationally, with men’s basketball breaking into the top 25 and becoming the best mid-major program. He looks to Wichita State basketball for ideas.
“They were UMKC at one point, and I think ‘why not us?’” said Martin. “If we have the right staff in place and support from students, the administration and stakeholders in the communities, there is no reason we can’t make that happen.”
A lot of people would see this as overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals, but Martin only sees the opportunities.
“We have an opportunity to inspire the campus, to inspire the students, the faculty, staff and an opportunity to inspire the people of Kansas City,” said Martin. “There is a lot of heavy lifting me and my staff have to do in the upcoming months and years, but we’re up to the challenge.”
Part of the plan is boosting attendance, and that started with moving games back to Swinney. According to Martin, student attendance is up 87 percent, and overall attendance for men’s basketball is up 42 percent.
There are incentives for students to attend games—the “pouch card” can earn students incentives ranging from an Adidas polo to a road trip with one of the teams.
Martin is also focused on boosting alumni involvement with the department. According to Martin, 68 percent of UMKC alumni stay in the Kansas City area.
“We want them to stay involved in events pertaining to athletics and continue to attend games,” said Martin. “We want them to be excited and have a level of pride in our program and in our institution.”
Growing the department will benefit UMKC and Kansas City.
“We’re going to have a better product and have a track record that will get the attention of people in KC, and that’s marketing for the university,” said Martin. “We want to be a tool for engagement and visibility for the university.”
Martin has experience in boosting university athletics. As the athletic director at California State Northridge, Martin grew the budget from $9.8 million to $15.4 million.
At UMKC, Martin has secured $1 million for facility upgrades.
Currently, the north and south lobbies of Swinney will be renovated, as will the strength and conditioning room. There will be a new fueling station, as well as court and facility branding and upgrades to the sports medicine facility.