Incoming Fordham interim Athletic Director Ed Kull is a very happy man. After spending the past three years as Fordham’s senior director of development and senior associate athletic director, he’ll be making the leap to interim athletic director on July 1, when he takes over for the soon-to-be-retired Dave Roach.
“Dave and I have a very good working relationship,” Kull says. “I have a ton of admiration and respect for him. He’s been a tremendous mentor to me and I know he will continue to be for his next few months that he’s still on the job.”
Kull will be taking over the job at about the most uncertain point he possibly could have. As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, athletic facilities at Fordham, and around the country, remain shuttered, which may bring fall seasons into question. That time has not yet come, but Kull and the rest of the Fordham Athletics staff are already trying to figure out a plan for the future.
“Until everybody’s really comfortable with the safety,” Kull says, “I don’t think there’s much we can do.” He has been holding meetings with various members of the Athletic Department to plan for various outcomes, as none can be ruled out at this early stage in the pandemic. In our interview, he spoke of dual plans: one where campus reopens for the summer to allow for fall seasons to take place, and another scenario that is less optimistic.
In addition to the current situation presenting challenges for Fordham Athletics, it also presents issues for a first-time athletic director. It remains to be seen whether or not Kull can go into the office on his first day on the job; in the meantime, he uses Zoom for meetings like the rest of us. While the transition is being made at a dead time for college athletics, it also means that there will be no formal passing of the torch and fewer opportunities to get to know his staff in person.
In response, Kull has taken it upon himself to personally check in on Fordham coaches and staff members. He credits that approach to his background in sales, marketing and promotions, having previously worked at the Coca-Cola company, the NFL and the POWERADE brand. According to Fordham Athletics, he has helped increase athletic fundraising by 51% and donor participation by 93% in his three years at Rose Hill.
He also isn’t necessarily talking like an “interim” athletic director.
“I’m focused on creating a full-blown, strategic plan for athletics,” Kull says. “I think it’s important, I think it’s one that we need. Whether that be a three-year look, a five-year look, I’m really focused on continuing a massive facility plan for athletics, and again, that probably is a five-to-10-year look of just renovations and upgrades we need, and obviously, that would be tied to my skill set of fundraising and my focus and efforts of bringing more revenue generation to athletics.”
He also speaks of culture-building and the “energy and enthusiasm” that it requires. He is active on social media, often sharing and retweeting Fordham-related press. He is often in attendance at Fordham sporting events and is expected to bring that energy to the job on day one.
Before the end of our interview, I leave the floor open to Kull if he wants to add anything. He chooses to talk about the work Fordham athletes are doing in their communities. He doesn’t want to talk about himself.