The man behind the Wolverine-green curtain

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald

Seattle native Utah Valley University Director of Athletics Vince Otoupal is a former student-athlete himself, who spent his playing days at Stanford University as an outside linebacker for the Cardinal.

An athletic director’s job is never-ending and entails more than just watching sports. After five years as an infantry officer with the United States Marine Corps, Otoupal began to work his way up through the ranks of college athletics, starting as a fundraiser before moving to San Jose State University as a Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations.

From San Jose State, Otoupal moved on to California State University Monterey Bay, where he was named athletic director for the first time. After four years at Cal State Monterey Bay, Otoupal made the move to UVU, where he was named athletic director July 15, 2013, just two weeks after the Wolverines joined the Western Athletic Conference.

“I watched UVU kind of evolve and grow and continue to morph into this really special place where there’s a lot of really great things going on,” said Otoupal, “Not just athletically, but in our aviation program, our services program, in the business school, nursing, all those things. Been following it, watching it and wanted to be a part of it.”

Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

Otoupal spends his time behind the scenes making things happen on the court and the field that most fans are not aware of. As the athletic director at UVU, Otoupal has to balance relationships with his coaches, student-athletes and university leadership.

“Being an athletic director is a lot about relationships and a lot about navigating things that needs to be done,” said Otoupal. “So relationships, I have to have a good relationship with our coaches, I need to have a good relationship with our president and our university leadership. I try my best.”

To build these relationships, it’s all about trust. According to Otoupal, part of building trust is face time and making yourself available to the people with whom you want to build a relationship.

“If you’re going to develop relationships people have to see you and they have to understand what you’re about,” said Otoupal. “But giving people the ability to get to know you and getting to the trust factor. Getting to know you and getting to trust you.”

Otoupal still maintains a relationship with one of his former Stanford coaches, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. As directors of neighboring athletic programs, Otoupal’s relationship with Holmoe is based on trust and he can still rely on his former coach as a mentor.

“We text often,” said Otoupal. “He and I try to sit down for lunch about once a month. I call him Coach still, because I listen to what he says and he’s a very, very smart man and he’s a leader in the business of college athletics and I like the way what he and BYU athletics have done.”

As the athletic director, Otoupal makes an effort to continue to build relationships of trust within UVU while building the athletic department to represent the university in the best way possible.