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Photo by Lia Musgrave, TexAgs

New AD Ross Bjork reflects on past, looks toward future in introductory press conference

June 3, 2019
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Kyle Field had something of a dizzying effect on Ross Bjork when he visited College Station for the first time.

That was about 20 years ago when Bjork, who on Monday was officially introduced as Texas A&M’s new athletic director, was working on the athletic staff at Missouri.

“If I remember I was in the press box and it was shaking,” Bjork recalled. “I thought, ‘Is that an earthquake? Is that the band?’”

Of course, it was just the 12th Man sawing the horns before the fourth quarter of a 17-14 A&M victory. That obviously had an impact on Bjork. And now, he aims to have an impact on Texas A&M’s athletic programs.

Speaking to a crowd assembled at the Hall of Champions, Bjork, who is leaving Ole Miss to come to A&M, joked that he had difficulty in Oxford finding a maroon tie for the ceremony. He introduced his wife, Sonya, and sons, Payton and Paxton, and promised he’d be active and visible within the College Station community.

Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Bjork will officially take over athletic director duties on July 8, replacing interim AD R.C. Slocum.

Then Bjork thanked A&M President Michael Young and reiterated his goals for A&M: to become the best in athletics and academics, give athletes the best possible collegiate experience and do it all within NCAA rules.

“I can’t wait to work with you and your team,” Bjork said to Young. “You have my pledge that I will work hard every day for Aggieland and for our student athletes to make sure that we have the best academic and athletic experience possible while fulfilling the mission of the university.”

If Bjork can accomplish those goals he will more than validate the decision to hire him. He’ll replace R.C. Slocum, who is serving as the AD on an interim basis until Bjork officially starts on July 8. A&M’s athletic department appears strong with football coach Jimbo Fisher entering his second season, Buzz Williams just hired as the men’s basketball coach and new track & field and softball stadiums recently constructed.

Perhaps the main issues Bjork must address is deciding whether upgrades are needed at Reed Arena and evaluating all the athletic programs, especially baseball and softball, which just completed disappointing seasons.

“I have not seen Reed Arena,” Bjork said. “I haven’t been to a game here. I’ll tour the facilities (Tuesday) afternoon. I’ll sit down with Buzz and get his thoughts. (I’ll) soak it all in and listen and learn. I know it can be a good home court advantage. Our job will be to make it better.”

Bjork did not say whether he had any specific thoughts about the various programs.

“I don’t want to be too pushy,” he said. “I think, again, my job is going to be learn and listen. If there is something immediate and the staff and R.C. bring to me then I can help make that decision and advise.”

Chancellor John Sharp said Bjork was chosen after a nation-wide search and was sure Bjork was the right choice. He was convinced by former coaches that have worked with Bjork.

“The best part about it from my point of view is that every single one of his former coaches say wonderful things about him,” Sharp said. "Former coaches don’t have to say wonderful things about you and they all do, from Kentucky to Ole Miss to everywhere he’s been. That’s the best sign in the world, I think.

“I believe he has great vision for the overall department and for the complete student athlete experience... I think he will be an outstanding leader here at Texas A&M.” 
- Jimbo Fisher

“Mike (Young) went all over the country. I think he did the right thing. I’m not big on committees to begin with. It’s more efficient to do it this way. He involved the coaches in the process and R.C. and everybody. I think they got the perfect guy.”

Adding to that thought, of course, is A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher’s endorsement of Bjork.

“I believe he has great vision for the overall department and for the complete student athlete experience,” Fisher said in a statement released by A&M. “He has done a tremendous job in the area of academics as well as fundraising to help provide the necessary resources needed for excellence is all areas. I think he will be an outstanding leader here at Texas A&M and I look forward to working with him.”

Sharp acknowledged Fisher’s endorsement was vital.

“Everything is important when it comes to Jimbo,” Sharp said. “I don’t think they would have hired anybody that the coaches weren’t pleased with. Obviously, Jimbo is hugely important to A&M and this program. I’m pleased he was involved with it.”

Bjork reflected back to his first visit to express how pleased he was to be joining Texas A&M.

“There’s just a ton of passion here,” he said. The students stand up the whole game and you have the 12th Man, the corps and the band. All those things.

“I’m a student of college athletics. I love going on a campus and see what they have to offer. And when you come on this campus — and I know a lot of things have changed since 1998 — but you come on this campus even in 1998 you know this place is special. They care. It’s big time. If the stadium is shaking you know you’re at a special place. I’ve always been super impressed with this university."

Discussion from...

New AD Ross Bjork reflects on past, looks toward future in introductory press conference

6,151 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by West Point Aggie
greg.w.h
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AG
I thought that was a very good introduction. You can't tell everything from what people say. But his themes were better than excellent and integrated perfectly with Young's comments. And both acknowledged Sharp.

The question about Young's tenure in the presser UN the Hall of Champions was fascinating if that's what that was. Bjork wisely mentioned working with multiple chancellors at a previous stop. The only reasonable response is to commit to work with the current chief executive whomever that actually is.
West Point Aggie
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AG
Sharp will somehow manage to micromanage, screw and eventually derail this dude...HE is the one that needs to go and stop damaging A&M...and the second he leaves, bring back the real TAMU seal!!!
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