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Back You are here: Home Sports Sports News Basketball Reynolds introduced as Bradley's new AD

Reynolds introduced as Bradley's new AD

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Chris Reynolds said Wednesday he will always support Bradley University student athletes as they pursue excellence, will keep athletics in line with the university’s goals, and engage the community going forward in his new job as Bradley’s director of athletics.

But the Peoria native, most recently deputy director of athletics at Northwestern University, said he wouldn’t be rushed into deciding the fate of Bradley men’s basketball coach Geno Ford. “There is no timetable. I am going to evaluate all of our programs. I understand men’s basketball is the flagship program and I will spend time with Coach Ford and see where he is at,” Reynolds said at a news conference where he was introduced at Bradley’s 10th AD.

“I never feel a sense of urgency when it comes to another person’s livelihood,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds, 43, was a Parade All-American at Peoria High School before going to Indiana University and becoming the Hoosiers’ starting point during his four years there under Coach Bob Knight.

Reynolds went on to receive his law degree and Ph.D at Indiana and said Wednesday that academic is very important to him. In fact, he said, the fact Bradley stresses academics for its athletes is one reason the job appealed to him. “It was critically important to me to be at a place where academics matter,” he said.

He acknowledged academics were stressed at Indiana and noting Knight’s reputation for being tough he added, “Bob Knight didn’t just prepare you to win a basketball game. He prepared you for life.”

When it comes to athletic competition, Reynolds said during his time at Indiana teams always were confident, believing they would win every time they took the court. That was why the teams on which he played won a pair of Big Ten conference titles and made the NCAA Final Four in 1992. “Coach Knight always said the tip of the bayonet doesn’t determine the outcome of the battle. It’s the fire in the eyes of the combatant,” he said.

Reynolds invoked the name of current Hoosier head coach Tom Crean, who came to Indiana five years ago, when the program was going through a rough patch, including with its fans. When Crean started Reynolds was still in the athletics department at Indiana and he recalled the coach being asked what he was going to do the charge up the fan base again. “He said he has to sell the tradition, get the community involved again. That’s what we’re going to do here,” Reynolds said, adding Bradley has a strong tradition of its own.

As a child growing up in Peoria, he often walked or bicycled to Bradley and watched practices at the former Haussler Hall and remembered players such as Mitchell Anderson, David Thirdkill, Hersey Hawkins and Jim Les, who later became head coach at Bradley and guided the Braves to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006.

Reynolds said he had no intention of leaving Northwestern and had rebuffed other recruitment efforts to interest him in other schools. But when a search firm called a couple weeks ago to gauge his interest in Bradley, “I thought that would be special. They didn’t have to sell me on Bradley or on Peoria,” he said.

Reynolds was chosen from more than 60 candidates who were considered after Michael Cross announced his resignation a few weeks ago. But Doug Stewart, chairman of the Bradley board of trustees, said there was no preconceived notion about Reynolds or any other candidate by the search committee headed by Judge James Shadid and Peoria businessman Mike Cullinan.

“We went through a very thorough process. He absolutely earned this opportunity,” Stewart told the 100 or so fans, faculty and staff gathered for the news conference at Renaissance Center. Among those at the news conference was Doug Elgin, commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Bradley President Jo Anne Glasser, who has announced she will retire at the end of the current academic year, spoke of the leadership Reynolds has shown in his previous positions at Indiana, Notre Dame University and Northwestern. His reputation, she said, is that “he is very passionate about the student athlete experience.”

Glasser read comments she received from presidents and athletics directors from other institutions who know Reynolds and said, to a person, how lucky Bradley is to get him.

Reynolds’ wife, Katrina, who is an assistant dean of students at Northwestern, and their two children, Joshua and Olivia, accompanied him to the news conference.

“It’s great to be home in Peoria. I am absolutely thrilled to be here,” Reynolds said.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).