Mathieu stands in shoes of the GSU athletic director

Step into Troy Mathieu’s office in the Eddie Robinson Sports Facility in Grambling Louisiana and you’re sure to notice a few things. A desk full of paperwork, a phone that seems to ring continuously to go along with plaques and memorabilia that have yet to be set up. But the one thing that appears imminent is not visual. Change. Mathieu, 42, was named Grambling State University’s newest Athletic Director after Willie Jeffries, former A.D., resigned to return home to North Carolina in 2005. Mathieu, a graduate of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, took action when he saw the opportunity to work for Grambling. “I saw the job posted and I showed interest,” Mathieu said. “(Becoming an Athletic Director) was a goal of mine since long ago and now it is a reality.” The responsibilities had been taken over by a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Executive Duer Sharp who was working under an interim basis. Experience is something Mathieu is not short on. As the Superintendent with The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in Dallas, Texas, Mathieu was responsible for over 16,000 students, 40 staff members and roughly 500 coaches. “It’s a job that requires multiple skill sets,” Mathieu said. “But the budget was very similar.” Also similar was the overall objective. “To drive coaches to a common goal which is to be successful,” Mathieu said. “Do the best you can while you’re in the job, it’s a privilege to have this job.” There are 18 Intercollegiate Athletic Programs at GSU. Less than the Dallas School District, which is the 12th largest in the country. One important aspect of the job is sponsorship. Getting outside companies to fund GSU’s programs. “It’s a very tight budget situation,” Mathieu said. “The challenge will be to try to create a sponsorship program and an environment whereby a sponsor would want to be involved in funding the program (with) revenue and resources to improve the program.” Mathieu showed he has the experience and business savvy to bring in sponsors. When he was named executive director of the NOKIA Sugar Bowl at the age of 29 he helped raise the event’s annual budget to $18 million. He also negotiated to land a $60 million deal with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). “My biggest philosophy is to create win-win partnerships,” Mathieu said. “To fill the corporations needs and at the same time, fill your need for resources.” Mathieu has a large hill to climb at GSU a school that has not had an official Athletic Director in almost a year and also is under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) investigation for ineligible players. Seemingly with his experience it seems like a job he can handle. “I look forward to working with the entire campus,” He said. “My direct role is to encourage the student body to support their student athletes and insist the student athlete to get involved and support the student body.” Mathieu with his experience and optimism could bring about the one thing that would be much needed for GSU’s struggling Athletic Department.Change.