Blossom reflects on year one
Marcus Blossom is beginning his second year as the McCormick Endowed Athletic Director at Creighton after taking the helm on Sept. 27, 2021. To mark the occasion, Creighton magazine asked him to reflect on his first year as Creighton’s athletic director.
How would you describe year one?
Fun is a good way to describe it. Moving to a new place, getting to learn about a new community, understanding our student-athletes and coaches and how everything works. It’s been fun.
It seems like each program had a milestone moment last year. How did you enjoy those moments?
It feels good that the student-athletes and the coaches are having success. That’s what brings me joy. A lot of people had the opportunity to learn about Creighton, whether through the men’s basketball tournament, the women’s basketball tournament or the success of volleyball. It all enhances the profile of the University.
One of the great moments had to be the women’s basketball team’s win at Iowa, to get to the Sweet 16. What was that experience like for you?
First of all, it was a great environment — a great day for women’s basketball. There were over 14,000 people there, and it was broadcast on ABC. Iowa was the No. 2 seed (in the NCAA Tournament), so it was a great, great win for those young women, a great win for Coach Jim Flanery. (The Bluejays then beat Iowa State to advance to the program’s first Elite 8.)
What kind of spectator are you?
I go back and forth. Sometimes I’m reserved. But then sometimes in key moments I get excited and then I look around, like, maybe I need to sit down a little bit — maybe I’m a little too excited. Just like any person, it depends on the moment.
Did the CHI Health Center Omaha experience meet your expectations for men’s basketball?
I knew I was at a special place for fan support during last year’s men’s basketball exhibition game. I watched a few highlights from exhibition games across the country, and the 8,000 fans we had against Upper Iowa was not the national norm. I thought, “Hmm, the fans here are pretty passionate. This is going to be different than what I’ve experienced in the past.”
What have you learned about other Creighton sports?
We’ve had success in some sports that may not receive the same attention that others get. For example, the rowing team finished second in the West Coast Conference, the highest finish they’ve ever had. Coach Daniel Chipps won Coach of the Year.
How have you engaged with student-athletes?
Student-athletes are busy. They don’t have a lot of time. But I have met with almost every team. I’ve asked them questions, learned about how we can better their experience, learned what has been working well, learned what we need to improve. This is the fun part — I’ve been there cheering them on at their events, watching them compete, watching them have success and watching them really enjoy the moment and the experience that they have at Creighton.
What have you learned about Creighton’s student-athletes?
It’s difficult to balance Division I athletics and the rigors of a Creighton education. But I’m impressed by how our student-athletes accept the challenge. In 2021-2022, our student-athletes carried a 3.42 cumulative GPA, nine of our teams were recognized for having perfect multiyear APR (Academic Performance Rates) scores, and a BIG EAST-high four teams earned conference Team Academic Excellence Awards. That speaks not only to the individual dedication of our student-athletes, but it’s a testament to our culture that so highly values and supports their academic success.
The future’s bright. The landscape of college athletics is changing. There are a lot of dominoes that will fall into place in the next year or so, but Creighton is positioned very well to have tremendous success. One, we attract quality student-athletes. Two, we’ve been able to recruit and retain quality coaches and staff members. And three, we have great support in the community and from the University.