New Athletic Director is advancing vision for Peregrines sports
Nearly two months into his tenure as Purdue Calumet’s Director of Athletics, Rick Costello says he is enjoying every day and proud to be a Peregrine. “Every day is different,” the 10-year administrator said. “One moment I could be counseling a student athlete, mentoring a coach, or working with University Advancement to raise funds.”
Extensive sports background produces valuable experience
A native of Lansdale, Pa., Costello played basketball from a young age, including all through high school and a year at his alma mater, Muhlenberg (Pa.) College. He also served a few stints as a coach, too, including three years at Lehigh (Pa.) University, where he obtained his MBA. Coaching eventually gave way to administrative positions with larger, collegiate programs.
Prior to coming to Purdue Calumet, Costello served five NCAA Division I athletic programs. Most recently, he was athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Partnering to develop outdoor facilities
At Purdue Calumet, Costello knows there is work to be done to build Purdue Calumet athletic program to the level the University seeks, which is ostensibly NCAA Division II. Important to this effect is the development of soccer, tennis, baseball and softball facilities nearby Dowling Park.
“We have a great partnership with the city, he said, “We will build outstanding facilities that local residents also can utilize. Dowling Park will allow Purdue Calumet to recruit outstanding student athletes from Northwest Indiana and beyond.”
Purdue Calumet has budgeted to support one-third of the Dowling Park project; the City of Hammond has committed to pay a third. The rest must come from university fundraising, in which Costello is actively involved.
“It’s a lot of teamwork, getting out to the community and talking to people about our vision for the university,” he said. “The Chancellor’s vision of a Hometown University and the integral part athletics plays is exciting. The future is bright for the Peregrines.”
Corporate sponsorships & a fan-friendly environment
In addition, Costello is trying to secure more corporate sponsorships supporting Peregrine athletics. He also knows that for the Peregrines to become Northwest Indiana’s Hometown University team, hometown fans must have a desire to attend Peregrines games. A major way for that to happen, he believes, is by providing them with a game day experience that features more than just the game.
Costello envisions an experience similar to that of minor league baseball, with every stoppage of play offering something for the fans, like a shooting contest, a short dance competition, and various promotions.
Coming: baseball, softball teams
On the athletic side, Costello is directing search efforts for baseball and softball coaches, with the aim of introducing teams during the 2013-14 academic year. More than 200 applicants responded to advertisements the University placed. The search committee is in the process of vetting candidates, and hopes to fill the positions by January.
As for the big picture of Peregrine sports…
“Athletics is about instilling campus pride, not only on campus, but in the larger community,” Costello said. “The spirit and pride that athletics can bring to a campus is a gateway to the community and the state for promoting Purdue Calumet.”