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CWU Athletics

Note from the New Athletic Director

Dear Wildcat Family,

First, it’s great to be a Wildcat!

I’m honored to have been chosen to lead Central Washington University Athletics. The history and tradition of excellence at Central are truly special and I look forward to working with each of you to achieve greater success as we enter a new era of Wildcat Athletics.

Through the search process, I discovered why Central is such an exceptional place: it's the people! Each and every person I met, both on and off campus, was committed to the success of our university. This commitment starts with President Gaudino. It was evident that he has a passion for athletics and the role it plays in developing school spirit, challenging young women and men to be their very best in competition, the classroom, and life, and serving as a rallying point for the entire community of Ellensburg. President Gaudino's commitment that every student receives the best education possible while having a truly remarkable college experience has been a cornerstone of his presidency. Therefore, it is my goal to make Wildcat Athletics a part of every student's experience at Central. I thank President Gaudino for his support and graciousness through the process.

I also thank Drake University President David Maxwell and Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb for their leadership and support throughout my more than four years at Drake, and their assistance and support of my candidacy for this position. I leave my native Iowa with a heavy heart, but I’m happy to call Washington home.

Over the past 13 years, Jack Bishop has done an outstanding job in leading this department. The success of our student-athletes in the classroom and competition speak to his accomplishments, but it also speaks to the quality of the people he has brought on board and mentored during his tenure. Although Jack and his wife, Carol, are returning to Utah, his impact on Wildcat Athletics will be long-lasting and I’m confident they will be cheering us on from afar.

As your Athletic Director, I want to share with you my initial thoughts about our Athletic Department, our future, and the values that will guide our decisions. First, the foundation of my leadership philosophy is to develop a program, department, and university with which constituents are proud to be associated. Although this philosophy is very broad in terms of its application, one area that this speaks directly to is the pride our current student-athletes have in representing CWU. The history and tradition of Wildcat Athletics will play a major role in how we tell our story to both internal and external constituents. Through numerous initiatives, our student-athletes will know that their experience, just like others that came before them, has been made possible through the hard work, sacrifice, and giving of others. Therefore, instilling this pride and appreciation for others in our current student-athletes will play an integral role in building on our rich history and tradition of excellence.

The vision of our athletic department will be one that is shared in its development through collaboration with numerous constituent groups. The process of reviewing and refining our current strategic plan to meet our immediate, short- and long-term goals will be one of my first priorities and is essential to developing a roadmap for the future of Wildcat Athletics.

One area that needs immediate attention and plays a critical role in the student-athlete experience is facilities. The renovation of Nicholson Pavilion is impressive and has had a positive impact on all users, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us to make the same impact on all of our sport programs.

The student-athlete experience must be at the core of our values and decision-making process. In doing so, we can ensure that the physical and mental welfare of our student-athlete is our first priority as we provide the opportunity for our student-athletes to develop skills that will not only assist them in competition, but skills that transfer into the classroom and life. That said, values we have as an athletic department have a direct impact on our student-athletes and their ability to be tomorrow's leaders. As an athletic department, the values of integrity, hard work, diversity, sportsmanship, equality, and athletic and academic excellence will guide our decisions.

Again, I want to state how excited I am to lead CWU Athletics and how happy my family and I are to be part of the Ellensburg community. I assure you that I will do my best to make you proud to be associated with Wildcat Athletics and I want to thank each of you for your past and continued support of our student-athletes.

Regards

Dennis Francois