By Brandon O'ConnorMay 31, 2019
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- After a phone call about the opening, Mike Buddie was interested in the athletics director job at the U.S. Military Academy, but after a weekend spent researching the academy he was determined to be the one selected for the job.
Buddie, who had served as the athletics director at Furman University since 2015, was officially announced as the new head of the Army West Point athletics department May 31. He replaces Boo Corrigan who announced in January he had accepted the same position at N.C. State.
"I started doing my research and checking boxes and every box I was checking quickly," Buddie said. "One of the biggest things for me is I want to be associated with institutions that have great identity and know what they are. I don't think there is an academy in the country or the world for that matter who understands who we are better than West Point."
Buddie takes charge of an Army athletics program comprising 28 Division I teams that combined to win six Patriot League titles this year. The academy's football team also defeated service academy rival Navy for the third consecutive year and won the Commander-in-Chief's trophy outright for the second straight season.
"With the selection of Mike as our new athletics director, we are confident that the culture of excellence and winning will continue," West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams said. "Mike was selected from an extremely talented pool of applicants from outstanding NCAA programs nationwide. Mike stood out from the field of applicants for his leadership abilities, work ethic and track record of success. More importantly, for his character, his appreciation of West Point's mission and purpose and for the commitment to the Army and our nation's values."
After thanking Corrigan for leaving the program in great shape, he said his goal to continue building the program. A former professional baseball player and a member of the New York Yankees' 1998 World Series championship team, Buddie said he brings a "minor league mentality" of working to make incremental improvements every day.
"As successful as this program has been, I am not here to coast," Buddie said. "I want to continue to elevate our program."
Prior to his time at Furman, he spent a decade working in the athletics department at Wake Forest, where he played baseball as a student. Part of the process of building the program includes capitalizing on contacts throughout the country, Buddie said. Now, along with time to work out, Buddie said he takes time every day to send "15 to 20 thank yous," which could be a quick text message, a handwritten note or an email.
"I have gotten some of these from people I haven't seen in five to 10 years," Buddie said. "Your network and scope of contacts across the country are extremely important in my job when it comes to bowl games, coaching searches and all those things. That is one of those things I learned as I went along. You can't lose touch with people who can put you in position to help your institution."
Buddie said his time running the department at Furman also showed him the importance of properly running a search for a coaching opening, something he will have to jump into right away at West Point where the head softball coach position is currently vacant.