Steve Waterfield — a year in review

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Steve Waterfield — a year in review

Rachel Basela, Staff Intern

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When Oakland University Athletic Director Steve Waterfield decided to move his wife and two school-aged sons to Michigan for a job offer, it was a decision made from much consideration.

Previously, Waterfield served as the executive associate athletic director at the University of Nebraska. Deciding to settle down in a completely new state with a different culture was a tough choice to make for the sake of his family, according to Waterfield.

The Waterfields, however, are familiar with the Midwest. The two children were born in Madison, Wisconsin and have all spent time in Lincoln, Nebraska, which made them comfortable with the choice to make another move.

“[Rochester, Michigan] was really a place that we could set roots down,” Waterfield said. “We could make it. It felt comfortable, and it would be good for [the children], good for my wife and had a high quality of life.”

On April 12, Waterfield gave Oakland University a glimpse into his first year, in order to provide the university with a sense of success from the past school year and hope for a promising future under his leadership.

“I oversee the athletics department, which is 18 varsity sports, about 340 student athletes, a hundred and some staff — whether they’re students, full-time, part-time, casual workers — and I certainly represent the athletics department on campus and in the community with a focus on really four things,” Waterfield said. “From the get-go, it’s the student athlete experience, competing for championships, collaborating with the university and strengthening our connection with the community, alumni, donors, et cetera.”

An element of potential was evident to Waterfield before he began his journey at OU, which he described as being rooted in the passion of the university’s athletes and their surrounding community. He said that passion was already evident and, as a prospective employee, was one of the things that attracted him to OU.

“I think just the fact that there’s potential there are ways to get better, there are things we can do in the short and long term, that will require a lot of hard work but will allow us to get better across the board in a lot of our sports which is attractive,” he said. “It’s always that optimism that we can do better than what we did today when we do it tomorrow. So that’s been evident, too, which energizes me to want to accomplish and move forward.”

Waterfield viewed his past school year as having optimism and potential. His plans for his tenure can be considered to have a quite similar attitude.

“I’m looking at trying to expand medical services, nutrition, sports psychology and academic services for all of our student athletes,” he said. “We need to have facility upgrades. We need a basketball practice gym, student athlete academic space, renovated locker room space, a renovated baseball field, softball improvements and an indoor golf area.”

Waterfield said he was optimistic about taking on the role of the athletic director for OU from the very beginning. From taking on the challenges of a large leadership role on campus, to finding the potential in the student athletes and creating goals for the department, Waterfield is building what many of his colleagues consider to be a success story in the realm of OU sports.