FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The University of Alaska Fairbanks athletic department hosted Mike Waddell last night in a public forum, as they get closer to naming their athletic director.
Waddell started off with energy that filled the room, asking the audience questions and handing out shoe wipes.
Waddell has had many experiences over his 28 years, from D-I schools to NASCAR, but to him his grass roots began in his home town near Charlotte, North Carolina working at a D-II school as a kid, which is Little Orion University.
Waddell, much like his competitors, pointed out that Fairbanks doesn't have much Nanook pride in the stores.
If picked, he wants that to change, and has plans to fix the marketing at the university.
This isn't out of the realm of possibilities, as UAF has struggled to garner connections with the community here in the interior.
But for Waddell, what drove him back to college athletics was his mentor.
Waddell: "A 92 year old man grabbed my arm, he's my college advisor he passed away in January 10 days after this conversation he said Are you happy doing what you're doing? And I look back at him, and before I can get anything out of my lungs he said no you're not. Your sabbatical's over, it's time to go back to doing what we do. What we do, that guy made an impact on me, I want to make that impact on other people's lives and you can do that through college sports. There aren't a lot of entertainment options here, so let's make this great, and let's make this fun. We're not mapping genomes here, ok. This is sports, you know it's fun, we got to have fun."