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Valley / Ventura County Sports

Candidate Addresses Key Issues

Northridge: Lide, one of five finalists for athletic director, says school should gather input from students, community.

April 28, 1999|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pledging to generate enthusiasm among students and solicit community input regarding use of a proposed on-campus stadium, William E. Lide addressed an open forum Tuesday at Cal State Northridge, where he aspires to become the next athletic director.

Lide, the first of five finalists scheduled to be interviewed on campus within the next two weeks, offered few specifics to a sparse gathering that did not include a single Northridge student.

However, Lide, director of intercollegiate athletics at North Carolina Central University in Durham, said the course of the school's athletic future and its facilities is to be charted with input gathered on and off campus. And he promised not to turn a deaf ear.

"One thing you have to have is community support," Lide said. "If you check aspects of my background, you will find that community support has always been a viable aspect of my own personal leadership.

"There has to be a significant dialogue, as far as impact on the community is concerned. And that dialogue must be continuous."

Last week, a survey of 750 Valley residents revealed two-thirds support for a proposed $8.5 million, 8,500-seat stadium to be built on campus and used primarily for football. Lide, a graduate of Ohio State, said he supported using the facility for non-athletic events.

"At Ohio State, Buckeye Stadium, for a long time, was used just for football," Lide said. "Now there are different kinds of fund-raising events and revenue is being generated.

"If you look at the small towns and universities in those towns, they don't use those facilities just for college. They are multiple-use facilities and I see that as the way to go."

Lide, 49, a former wide receiver for the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders and a former football assistant coach, remarked he "never played Little League," and conceded football, along with track, is where his athletic background lies.

Yet, he promised a "broad-based" program.

On Tuesday, Lide was confronted by two community members questioning the stadium's use and the athletic program's image.

Bob Buckles, a Northridge resident and member of the Lindley West Coalition, represented an alliance of about 2,000 residents who have vociferously opposed plans for the university to lease its stadium for concerts, car shows and other non-athletic events.

"I certainly don't speak for the entire 2,000," Buckles said. "But, yes, we have been . . . disrespected.

"I live across the street. Our concern is what it will be used for. We are hopeful that the sports programs can be supported. But we don't want non-athletic things supported. We're concerned about noise, traffic and crime."

Lide said the community's wishes will not be ignored.

"Hopefully, there will be a middle ground that we can reach," Lide told Buckles. "I don't know what that is right now because I haven't studied all the issues. But I do know that you are very important and my staff will be very sensitive to the situation."

Said Buckles: "I'll just say that we will be a hard sell."

So, too, Lide conceded, will be generating interest among students.

Bob Sharp, a local resident with three sons who graduated from Northridge, said he regularly attends sporting events on campus and often sits among empty seats.

"We have lousy participation, in my judgment," Sharp said.

Lide proposed an aggressive marketing campaign to publicize athletics, as well as annual athletic contests tied to social events.

"You have to come up with a strong marketing strategy toward students on campus and, in this case, the community," Lide said. "You have to increase the desire to come to an athletic event, rather than go to a movie or a show."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

William E. Lide Profile

Age: 49

Current Post: Athletic director, North Carolina Central University, Durham, N.C.

Education: Ph.D in physical education/administration, Ohio State, 1980. M.Ed. in Education Administration, North Carolina at Charlotte, 1976. B.S., Physical Education, Johnson C. Smith, 1973

Previous positions: Athletic director, West Chester (Pa.) University, 1993-95. Athletic director Salisbury (Md.) State, 1987-93. Also chair of physical education programs and services at Salisbury. Director, department of physical education and sport, Winston Salem State University, North Carolina.

Professional highlights: Member of NCAA executive committee, 1996-97, NCAA championships committee, 1996-97, NCAA Council, 1990-93. Coaching experience: Tennis coach at Johnson C. Smith University, 1980-83. Assistant football coach at Johnson C. Smith, 1980-82, 1976-78. Assistant football coach, head track and field coach, Eastville (Va.) High, 1973-74.

Professional athletic experience: Wide receiver, Calgary Stampeders of Canadian Football League, 1974-75.

Personal: Married, four children.

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