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Paul Letlow

August 4, 2004

Football players aren't the only ones reporting for duty at Louisiana-Monroe this week.

New ULM athletics Bobby Staub and wife Laura arrived in Monroe from Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday night. The former Alabama-Birmingham senior associate AD starts work at his Malone Stadium office today as he opens a new chapter in his life and for ULM athletics.

"I'm looking forward to it and I'm excited," Staub said Monday in a phone interview before leaving Alabama. "Trying to make the transition has been kind of a challenge because I can't wait to get there - but I was trying to get things squared away at UAB."

ULM hired Staub on June 30, but it has taken a month to tie up the loose ends at a school where he worked loyally for 20 years. Staub will replace Bruce Hanks, who announced his resignation in March after three years on the job at ULM.

Staub will work from a short list and a long list as he takes the helm at ULM. Football players will report officially on Thursday and Staub is anxious to see that sport kick off on the right foot. ULM is coming off a 1-11 season, but there is renewed optimism as head coach Charlie Weatherbie begins his second season with a revamped staff.

"Football is upon us," Staub said. "Things that are critical and important now are ticket sales and marketing. That's a priority right now. All of the fall sports are of critical importance right now."

ULM needs a new head golf coach after Rich Merritt announced his resignation in July to take a job at Nevada. Merritt led ULM to the Southland Conference championship last season and Staub wants that program to continue its ascent.

"We need to look at our golf hire," Staub said. "You talk about priorities and one immediate priority is to get a golf coach."

Staub will meet and evaluate coaches and other staff members in the athletic department as he acclimates. Staub began his career as assistant athletic ticket manager at UAB in 1984 and has worn many hats in the past two decades. Staub's is a comprehensive perspective that should serve him well.

"It has to be a team approach and everybody has got to contribute," Staub said. "From the people in the community to the ticket office to media relations to the equipment room, it has to be a team effort."

Staub made a brief trip to Monroe in July for ULM's Outback Classic, a popular golf tournament and dinner that takes place each summer to support the golf program. The visit only reinforced Staub's feelings about his new home.

"When I came back that weekend for the Outback, it only strengthened my resolve about what we can get done here," Staub said. "If we all do our jobs, the people in this community will support this program."

During the interview process, Staub familiarized himself with some of the issues facing ULM. He arrives at a point of transition for the athletic department, with the school announcing this summer that it will leave the Southland Conference by 2006 to join the Sun Belt Conference in all sports. ULM president Jim Cofer said he wants Staub to create a strategic plan to carry the department forward.

"We're going to get it done," Staub said. "This is not a three- or six-month project. We're looking for long-term solutions."

Staub file
-- Age: 44
-- Title: New athletics director at Louisiana-Monroe
-- Family: Married to Laura
-- Strengths: Owns experience in fund-raising, marketing and promotional activities. ... Has created and implemented corporate fund-raising strategies. ... Has assisted in football and basketball scheduling. ... Worked closely in athletics with former Alabama-Birmingham AD Gene Bartow and current AD Watson Brown. ... Has overseen licensing and Web site programs. ... Well versed in the day-to-day internal operations of an athletic department. ... College baseball connections as member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee.
-- Bio: Staub was the senior associate athletics director at UAB. He spent 20 years at UAB, beginning his career in 1984 as assistant athletic ticket manager. He gradually moved up to ticket manager from 1984-1989, director of marketing (1989-90), assistant athletics director (1990-1995) and associate athletics director (1995-1997). ... Graduated from Auburn in 1982 with a B.S. in business administration. ... Earned a master's of business administration at UAB in 1991.

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