Matt Kupec: Another Hallmark Moment

by Matt Kupec

January 1, 2020

I have had another Hallmark moment!

What, you might ask, is a Hallmark moment?

Well, I must confess that I have grown a fondness for Hallmark channel movies.  The channel which has the same sappy story line for every one of its movies – big city executive finds himself/herself in a very small community with an appealing charm that eventually will draw them away from the big city into the small town forever.

The charm of the small town is both the physical beauty of the town and the surroundings, and of the goodness of the people.

My first Hallmark moment came some forty years ago when I was introduced to Chapel Hill, NC when I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Known widely as the quintessential college town with a population under 50,000, Chapel Hill had an appeal that endured well beyond my undergraduate days. I returned to Chapel Hill to lead the UNC fundraising program for over twenty years

A year ago, I started with the Southern Illinois University Foundation in Carbondale, Illinois as the in-house fundraising consultant to lead the fundraising program.  SIU was just one year away from completing a $75 million fundraising campaign but with great success has now announced a campaign extension with a new $200 million goal.

For me, Carbondale has become my second Hallmark moment.

What is special about Carbondale?

Small Town.  Carbondale is a small town with a population of 25,902 residents.  It is located in the very southern part of Illinois, some 300 miles away from Chicago to the far north.  The downtown is small but charming.  Carbondale is a bustling community of unusual shops, diverse commerce, cultural activities, and many other luxuries that would be expected in a large city, yet it maintains the comforts and charm of a small town. The city is the most populous in Southern Illinois outside the St Louis Metro-East region.

To read the full article go to http://mattkupec.org/matt-kupec-another-hallmark-moment/

 

Matt Kupec: Why Fire a College Football Coach During the Season?

By Matt Kupec

November 5 2019

Florida State University made big news today when they announced the firing of Head Football Coach Willie Taggert even though there still remain three games left to play in the season.  Coming of a terribly disappointing performance in a loss to Miami, and standing at a record of 4-5, the Seminoles administration made the decision to fire Taggert because as FSU President John Thrasher said, “we had no choice but to make a change.”

So, Coach Taggart gets fired just 21 games into the tenure of his six-year contract at Florida State.  He didn’t even get to finish his second season as the coach.

Why fire the head coach when the season isn’t done yet?

Don’t we preach to our student-athletes that we should never give up, never stop working and fighting to get better?   The game isn’t over until the final whistle we have heard countless times?  Don’t we believe in comebacks?

What is the purpose of a six-year contract when the Coach gets only 1 ¾ years to right the ship??

These are very important questions we must ask the leaders of higher education.  Below you will find some of the reasons why in-season coaching changes are made in football.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to money!  Big money at the Football Bowl Subdivision level!

Don’t cry for Coach Taggert.  His six-year contract was for $30 million, yes, $5 million per year.  In addition to the two years worth of compensation he has already received, Coach Tagger is due approximately $20 million for the remainder of his contract.  Oh, by the way, Florida State had to pay the University of Oregon $3M to buyout Coach Taggert’s contract from Oregon.  And, FSU was also responsible for an additional $1.3M to the University of South Florida left on a buyout when he jumped ship early to take the Oregon job.

To read the full article, go to:  http://mattkupecsports.com/matt-kupec-why-fire-a-college-football-coach-during-the-season/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: The Power of Philanthropy in Higher Education

by Matt Kupec

September 29, 2019

Philanthropy plays a critical role in our society.  In 2018, Americans gave $427.71 to charities, a record level.  Of the total amount, $58.72 million went to support education.  In higher education these dollars help colleges and universities recruit and retain students and faculty, improve and build facilities, strengthen academic programs and support cutting edge research.

At a luncheon with Southern Illinois University alumni earlier this week, I had the chance to make the following points to the Saluki alumni pitch about the important role philanthropy plays for the University:

  • Philanthropy Provides the “margin of excellence.” Universities generate revenue from a variety of sources.  These include state appropriations (for public universities), tuition, research (for research institutions), philanthropic support and auxiliary revenue.  In many instances, dollars raised from philanthropy will be mingled together with other revenue sources to start a new program or build a new facility.  Philanthropy provides “the margin of excellence,” that is the money from private gifts gives organization the funds needed to complete a project, an initiative or a fund.  Without philanthropy, that project would not have been able to be completed.  As state budgets get tighter, private giving is playing an even more important role in allowing Universities to meet the challenges that await them.

To read the entire article, go to http://mattkupec.com/matt-kupec-the-power-of-philanthropy-in-higher-education/

Matt Kupec: Remembering Coach Mike McGee

by Matt Kupec

August 18, 2019

The sport’s world recently lost one of its great football legends with the news that Mike McGee – a decorated Duke football player, college football head coach and successful athletic administrator – died on Friday at his home in Montrose, Colorado.  Coach McGee was 80 years old.

I didn’t know Coach McGee very well but his life impacted me in a number of significant ways.  And I know that he had significant impact on thousands of young people throughout the years.  The man was a leader who lived a rich life in terms of his role in transforming so many lives.

As a quick refresher, here is a summary of Coach McGee’s very impressive career:

  • Coach McGee won the Outland Trophy as the college football’s top lineman in 1959.
  • He was named first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.
  • Coach McGee went on to play in the NFL for three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, starting 36 games for the Cardinals.
  • He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • Head football coach at ECU (1970) and the Duke (1971-1978).
  • He later became director of athletics at the University of Cincinnati, University of Southern California and University of South Carolina.

But how did a former Duke player and coach who went on to become athletic director at two USC’s have an impact on my life?

Here’s how:

  • “The difference between chump and champ is U”!!

I was heavily recruited by Duke and Coach McGee out of high school.  As the New York Player of the Year and quarterback of the #1 ranked Syosset High School team, I was a prime target of Duke. But what influenced Coach McGee the most was that my older brother Chris was finishing up an All-ACC QB year at UNC and was breaking NCAA records.  Coach McGee was probably hoping the football genes were good.

I took my official recruiting trip to the Duke campus.  The final meeting of all these trips is always with the Head Coach.  This was going to be the final push to get me to sign with the Blue Devils.

So, I travel to the football office and get walked into Coach McGee’s office.  He begins his pitch.  It was impressive.  I will always remember that as Coach McGee was building to a great close, he stared at me, straight in the eyes, and with a raised voice, asked if I knew “the difference between champ and chump?”  Without hesitating and giving me a chance to answer, he raised his hand and pointed his figure at me and answered his own question with a barking “YOU!”

For the full story, go to  https://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-remembering-coach-mike-mcgee/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

Matt Kupec: Is There a “Right” Age to Hire a College Coach?

by Matt Kupec

March 26, 2019

Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill recently made a great hire by bringing former SIU basketball standout Bryan Mullen back to Carbondale as the Salukis new head basketball coach.  Coach Mullen has been a top assistant for the Loyola Chicago basketball program over the last four years and should return the Salukis back to the hierarchy of college basketball.

At thirty-two years old, Mullen becomes one of the youngest head coaches in Division I basketball.  In addition to Coach Mullen, the SIU football coach Nick Hill is just 33 years old.  Combined these two head coaches total just 65 years in age!

Is this unusual to have such young coaches or is this consistent with trends in the coaching field?

I immediately thought about my alma mater UNC with 67 year-old football coach Mack Brown, and 68 year-old basketball coach Roy Williams.  Heck, the two SIU coaches are younger together than BOTH Coach Brown and Coach Williams!!  But also remember that Coach Brown was 34 years old when hired as Appalachian State University’s football coach.  Coach Williams was 42 years old when Kansas made the former UNC assistant its head basketball coach.  Neither of the Hall of Fame coaches started head coaching careers at UNC but both have had remarkable success in Chapel Hill

But even at UNC, young coaches have been hired in the past.  Bill Dooley, who was my UNC college coach in the late 1970’s, was hired in 1967 at the tender age of 33 years old.  The basketball coach at the time was “ancient” 37 year- old Dean Smith who had been hired six years earlier at the even younger age of 30 years old.  So, UNC has had mix of young and old over its history.

So, is it the trend to hire young coaches?

For the full blog post, go to… http://mattkupecsports.com/848-2/

About the Author

Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand — most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.

 

Matt Kupec: Just How Little is “Little ‘ole Clemson?”

by Matt Kupec

January 17, 2019

In the aftermath of Clemson’s very convincing victory over Alabama to clinch the national college football championship, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was rightfully basking in the success in his post-game remarks.  In a joyous, happy and jubilant ESPN interview, Coach Sweeney in his homespun and country way kept referring to his national champions as “little ‘ole Clemson” as he talked about the Tigers undefeated season to capture the national championship.

Coach Swinney has had an amazing ten-year run building the “little ‘ole Clemson” program into one of the top programs nationally and making an argument for the top spot over college football’s other powerhouse the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

The question we pose to our readers in this post “is Clemson really that small” as Dabo Swinney would like to make us believe?  We decided to investigate for ourselves.  We looked at all the Power 5 Conference teams (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve and Pac-12) to see where Clemson would fall in comparisons in four categories – town population, enrollment, fundraising success, and stadium capacity – to give us a little better insight I as to whether or not Clemson is indeed “little ‘ole Clemson.”

Here is what we found:

For the full story go to:  http://mattkupecassociates.com/matt-kupec-just-how-little-is-little-ole-clemson/

Matt Kupec: College Coaches Making 65 Years Old the New 45

by Matt Kupec

December 25, 2018

For all of us aging quicker than we would like to acknowledge, one of my new favorite expressions is that “in today’s society 65 years old is the new 45!” No matter how gray our hair has become or how many aches we feel on a daily basis, our minds feel that we are as young — and good — as ever!

It may feel like we are kidding ourselves but, then again, maybe we are not!!

Three recent personnel moves in the college sports world have brought great comfort to many of us who are in the 60 plus aging category! The hiring of Les Miles — age 65 — as the University of Kansas new head football coach and Mack Brown — age 67 — as head coach at the University of North Carolina were great examples that maybe there is a fountain of youth after all.

Then to add another bounce to our aging step, the University of North Carolina announced they had given an eight-year contract extension to their 68-year old head basketball coach Roy Williams. Coach Williams can be coaching at 76 years of age!

Holy youth serum!

Coaches Miles, Brown and Williams are not alone in the “new 45” age bracket. Add in youthful college head coaches Mike Krzyzewski (Duke — age 71), Nick Saban (Alabama — age 66), Butch Davis (FIU — age 68), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse — age 74), John Beilein (Michigan — age 65) and Tom Izzo (Michigan State — age 63) and we have a “youth movement” right in front of our very eyes!

What is going on here and why are coaches staying in their jobs longer into their careers? Here are a few thoughts:

To read the entire blog, go to https://medium.com/@mattkupec/matt-kupec-college-coaches-are-making-65-years-old-the-new-45-e5c3bf2d0ba5

Matt Kupec: Was Jimmy Wolf Right That Soccer Would Become More Popular than Football?

by Matt Kupec

November 3, 2018

I need your help!

This will be one of the most gut wrenching blog posts I will ever write! Today, I will give in and admit that a prediction made by Jimmy Wolf during our Syosset High School years that “soccer would become more popular than football within ten years” might have come true!

The setting is Syosset High School in the mid-1970’s. Syosset is riding the wave of great football success under Coach John Miller. Lopsided wins become a weekly occasion and players like Kevin Mannix, Jack Miravel, Ken Bailey, Don Perfall and I were named to All-State teams. Home games in 1973 & 1974 against rival Farmingdale draw some 10,000 people to each game. A football banner recognizing the 1974 team as the #1 team in New York is hung in the gym. Football is king, at least in my eyes!

One of my best friends in high school was named Jimmy Wolf. Jimmy was smart, hardworking, athletic and very competitive. Jimmy had an infectious personality and was very popular. Jimmy was also a star soccer player at Syosset HS.

Back in those days, the soccer team played its home games on a field right outside of the high school, pretty much of a temporary field. Games were played during the weeks with small turnouts. Due to the games being played mid-week the football guys had the chance to watch of couple of games. Jim Hanophy was another friend and a star player as well so we would support the soccer team.

But Jimmy Wolf, in his competitive and somewhat confrontational way, would always tell me that “within 10 years soccer would be more popular than football.” You can imagine my responses to Jimmy’s claims. “Not a chance,” I would boost with my head held high as football was so popular in our school and the nation. “Soccer will never become more popular than football,” I would growl at Jimmy as he kept repeating his soccer claims.

But today, I am here to say to Jimmy Wolf may be right! This conclusion has been gnawing at me for years as I knew we were headed there but I just didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that a sport so popular in the rest of the world would become more popular than football in America. I love football and think it’s the greatest team sport of all! There was also a toughness that came with putting on the pads and the helmet and then battling on the field. And football seemed to be such a great community builder. But, things have been changing…….

To read the rest of the article, go to https://medium.com/@mattkupec/matt-kupec-was-jimmy-wolf-right-that-soccer-would-become-more-popular-than-football-422919b9a430

 

Matt Kupec: Thank You to My Syosset HS Head Coaches

By Matt Kupec

October 27, 2018

I was reading recently of some of the legendary high school coaches of all time. Great stories of men and women who have dedicated their lives for the opportunity and responsibility to influence a young person for life through the power of coaching!

Pretty strong stuff!!

It made me think about the coaches, or influencers as I like to call them, I had while I was attending Syosset High School in Syosset, NY. I played three sports — football, basketball, baseball — and I was good in all three. Our teams enjoyed considerable success and the football team my senior year went undefeated and was ranked #1 in New York.

My coaches were Joel Goldberg, Len Mintz, and John Miller. Back then we referred to them as “Mr.” not “Coach” as is the trend today. They were talented and dedicated and they certainly had their own style of coaching. All three ingrained lessons in me that have shaped my life…….

To read the full story, go to https://medium.com/@mattkupec/matt-kupec-thank-you-to-my-syosset-hs-head-coaches-603be2bb26f1

 

Memorable Lessons Learned

October 16, 2018

Have you ever worked with somebody who taught you a valuable lesson that you have used in your life? Has anybody given you sage advice? It could be a boss, colleague, parent, teacher, coach, religious leader or somebody else whom you have been associated with during your life.

A good lesson learned will be etched in your memory and probably part of your daily routine. You can recite them in your sleep? Your poor family and friends have heard the lessons hundreds of times. You probably have tried to impart these valuable lessons to colleagues at work!

And sometimes they can be so simple it is astonishing that the lesson you learned has stayed with you for so long!

One that jumps to my mind came years ago when I was just fourteen years old. I was playing in a baseball all-star tournament and my team was set to go against a player who was an all-world pitcher. At practice the day before the game we were all intimidated by what we considered the herculean task of defeating this behemoth. We were even more of an underdog than David vs. Goliath! At least it felt that way!!

But I’ll never remember my coach, Mr. Wilkinson, telling us not to be intimidated by this guy and that he “puts his pants on one leg a time” just like we do. His message was clear. This guy was mortal and he was beatable. Well we went out the next day and won the game to advance to the National Championship Babe Ruth World Series. And thanks to Mr. Wilkinson I never ever let anybody intimidate me before a game for the rest of my career!! Any imposing situation I face, I recite the words of wisdom from Mr. Wilkinson!….

To read the rest of the article, go to https://medium.com/@mattkupec/lessons-learned-a2634b99c9e7