LA CROSSE, Wis. (UW-LA CROSSE ATHLETICS NEWS RELEASE) -- University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Paula Knudson has appointed Kim Blum as the university’s interim director of athletics effective July 7. Blum replaces Josh Whitman, who accepted the position of director of athletics at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Whitman’s last day on the UW-L campus will be July 3. Blum will serve as interim director of athletics for the 2014-15 academic year. A national search for a full-time athletic director will begin in early 2015.
“I have incredible confidence in Kim’s leadership capacity and in her unwavering commitment to UW-L Athletics,” said Knudson. “After a decade of working with our systems, coaches and student-athletes, Kim is well poised to step in and sustain the momentum of our programs. She understands the multiple dimensions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), and our 19 sports.”
Blum is in her 10th year at UW-L, including completing her first as Deputy Director of Athletics in 2013-14. Prior to being named Deputy Director of Athletics, Blum served as Associate Athletic Director for nine years.
“I feel honored to serve in this capacity,” said Blum. “The UW-L athletic program is second-to-none in all facets and I have so much pride in what we do and who we are. I believe in the coaches, student-athletes and staff and there is nothing they can’t accomplish. I am committed to doing all that I can to continue to move our department forward in the interim. I’m very grateful to Vice Chancellor Paula Knudson for this opportunity.”
As Deputy Director, Blum advises Whitman on all aspects of the intercollegiate athletics program, including strategic planning, personnel, facilities, and resource development. Her primary duties include managing the athletic program’s business operations and budget, which this year will approach $3 million from more than 80 accounts, and serving as the program’s chief compliance officer, responsible for certifying student-athlete eligibility and monitoring compliance with the NCAA and WIAC rules and regulations.
In addition, Blum has immediate oversight for all of the program’s internal functions, including event management, facilities, camps and clinics, athletic training, and sports performance. She is the staff liaison to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and, in each of the last three years, has served as Meet Director and led the university's efforts to host the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships (in 2011 and 2012) and the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships (in 2013).
Blum directly oversaw the sport programs in men’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, gymnastics, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis in 2013-14.
She serves on the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) Executive Committee and was selected the 2013-14 Division III West Region Administrator of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W). The NACGC/W is the national coaches association for all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s Gymnastics Coaches in Division I, II and III. Each year the membership votes for regional head coach, assistant coach, gymnast and administrator of the year awards.
“Kim has garnered the respect of our athletic staff and is excited to engage in a new leadership role for us,” added Knudson. “In every exchange I have with Kim, she always puts our student-athletes and the needs of the program at the forefront. She is very interested in providing our students-athletes with the opportunity to excel in school, sport and life and is absolutely the right person to guide us into a new year of excellence.”
Blum served as the women’s track & field head coach and associate athletic director at Winona (Minn.) State University for seven years prior to coming to UW-L. She earned her bachelor’s (recreation management) and master’s (sport administration) degrees from UW-L and served as an administrative graduate assistant in intercollegiate athletics at UW-L for two years. Blum graduated from Tomahawk (Wis.) High School.
Along with her coaching duties at Winona State, Blum has served as an assistant track & field coach at Whitnall (Wis.), Sparta (Wis.) and Onalaska (Wis.) High School. She worked as the assistant coordinator of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports at Marquette University (Wis.) for two years.
Whitman was named UW-L’s Director of Athletics in August, 2010. The Eagles won four national championships and 21 WIAC titles under Whitman. UW-L finished in the top-five at NCAA championship events on 17 different occasions. In the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, UW-L finished 13th nationally.