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David Sayler tabbed as new Miami AD, identifies fundraising as a top priority

By Tom Downey
On January 14, 2013

David Sayler was named Miami University's 16th Athletic Director (AD) in early December, replacing Brad Bates, who took the same job at Boston College.

Sayler came to Miami after serving as AD at South Dakota State. He also spent time at Rice University, Oregon State University and Bowling Green State University.

Miami University President David Hodge introduced Sayler as AD during a December press conference.

Hodge said Miami looked for a good business background, the ability to enhance revenue streams as well as the ability to attract and develop coaches during their search for a new AD.

"During all of these times that he's been at these different places, he's been developing the qualities that I think will make him a great athletic director," Hodge said at Sayler's introductory press conference.

Sayler praised the current staff at Miami University, as well as the previous ADs at Miami.

He said he thought the groundwork for success had already been laid at Miami.

"Nothing here needs to be majorly reworked, we just need to tweak a few things," Sayler said. "I think we need to pay more attention to the external side of the house. I think we have some great potential and some great building blocks to spring forward."

Saylor said he was attracted to the job because Miami's athletics were is solid shape. However, there is always room for improvement.

"We've got to develop the attitude that we are going to win and we aren't going to settle for things," Sayler said. "That's something I'll be working with the coaches on."

Sayler thrived at fundraising during his time at South Dakota and hopes to do the same at Miami.

While at South Dakota State, Sayler was able to secure a $20 million private donation, the largest in school history.

"I think what has happened here at Miami before was that we've waited for a donor to kind of come forward and then we pursue something," Sayler said. "But then the donor losses interest or something changes and it never gets done. Or we wait for a coaching change and the coach wants something different than the last coach and we just change. What we are going to do now is we're going to get a master plan for athletics that I'm going to go out and sell to people. It is not going to be waiting for them to come to us."

One of the long-term goals that Sayler mentioned was improving the current athletic facilities at Miami.

"The indoor practice facility is certainly one area we are certainly looking at," Sayler said. "An end zone type facility is another one, a student performance center. Some things out at the hockey rink that were not done when we built the beautiful facility, there are a few things taken out that maybe we want put back in, tennis bubbles, those kinds of things that are going to be on the list."

The indoor practice facility is something Miami drastically needs, especially considering it is one of the few schools that lacks one.

"That is a facility that virtual every athletic team would benefit from," Assistant Athletic Director of Communication and Technology Mike Pearson said. "We're anxious to see what the capital campaign will be. And hopefully we'll be moving some dirt around soon."

Sayler has already met with architects to discuss potential facility plans.

Improving Miami's visibility is something Sayler has in his sights.

He mentioned the February Hockey City Classic that the RedHawks will participate in as a great example and wants to continue it.

"I already have some people in Chicago who want to see us continue to play the outdoor game and are willing to help make that happen," Sayler said. "Hopefully we can make that more of a permanent thing."

Sayler said he wants to find ways to get the student body more involved with athletics. He mentioned creating a student organization as well as possibly giving away food and shirts. Sayler hopes these, as well as other ideas, will be able to increase attendance at Miami.

Academics will remain a priority under Sayler, as Miami University student-athletes achieved an all-time high GPA for the fifth straight semester.

"I'm really excited about his spirit and gumption to go get things done," Pearson said of Sayler. "That's exactly what we need at thing point. We need someone to lift everybody up and put some Ws on the board."

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