A day in the life of WSU’s Eric Sexton

Wichita State Baseball Coach Todd Butler discusses the plans for a new facility with Eric and John Dieker from Bombardier Learjet. (KSN Photo / Raoul Cortez)

WICHITA, Kansas — To say Eric Sexton is a busy man would be an understatement. KSN’s Emily Gagnon followed him one day to find out what a day in the life of Wichita State University’s Athletic Director was like.

Eric’s day begins with a 3:45 a.m. wakeup call for a 5:00 a.m. with a one-hour workout at Optimal Performance.

We joined him for his workout and asked, “Tell me what the last two years have been like for you when it comes to men’s basketball with a Final Four and 35 straight wins the following season.”

“It’s a term I have in my head and I’ve used some is, we didn’t catch lightning in a bottle, we’ve been — over years, times — building a bottle to catch lightning,” replied Sexton.

Click photo for a photo gallery of our day with Eric Sexton.
Click photo for a photo gallery of our day with Eric Sexton.

Emily asks Eric, “The Men’s Basketball program, it’s no secret, that’s the cash cow. That is the program that makes the money. How do you make up for the other programs that maybe don’t bring in as much?”

Eric responds, “72% of our budget comes from fundraising. That’s not all men’s basketball. 15 sports is what we protect. We don’t sponsor one sport.”

At 7:30 a.m., it’s time for a breakfast meeting at Doo Dah Diner with Dr. Elizabeth King, President and CEO of the WSU Foundation. One of the subjects they talk about is an upcoming meeting.

“They will want to ask questions about skyboxes and I needed to see where you are with that,” Dr. King tells Sexton.

Eric responds, “What we’re trying to sort through now is, you might be able to do them today but can you support them in the future?”

At 9:00 a.m. it is on to Charles Koch Arena, where he meets the staff.

“An important part of my day is to just go around, say “Hi.” Check to see where folks are at,” said Eric.

As for playing basketball against another state team, Emily asked, “Now have you ever tried to get Kansas or Kansas State to play you guys in men’s basketball and do you see that ever happening?”

“It’s probably not the best way to say this but when I was growing up, prior to meeting my lovely bride, there were lots of girls that I wanted to date but they didn’t want to date me,” responds Sexton.

“Do you think it would be a win-win situation if either of those schools would play you guys?” asks Emily. “Just because it’s an in-state rivalry — that could be a great thing for both programs.”

“I can’t answer for them,” said Sexton. “And I’m not going to answer for them because we’re willing to play. Again, we went to South Dakota to play Memphis. We’re going to go play good teams, high-quality teams, any place, anytime, anywhere.”

VIDEO | Extended walk and talk with Eric

Emily asked Sexton what his approach was for punishing athletes for things that they do off the court, off the field. How does he approach that?

“I hold sports programs and coaches accountable,” said Sexton. “I expect you to be a championship type of person off the court.”

At 10:30 a.m., Eric meets with John Dieker from Bombardier Learjet. “John is the embodiment of what our student athletes care about because our community does so much for us.”

At 11:00 a.m., he meets with WSU Baseball Coach, Todd Butler, who shows John and Eric plans for a new WSU Baseball clubhouse and fitness center.

“I think it’s the most well-built indoor facility in college baseball,” said Butler.

In the evening, Eric is walking the Roundhouse meeting fans and faculty. At 6:50 p.m. it is time for the pre-game Presentation of the Game Ball before the Indiana State vs. Wichita State men’s basketball game.

“This is how our days go,” said Eric. “It never stops.”

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