|Don Amiot served as MSU's |
Director of Athletics from
Not the kind you find in your pocket when you're about to go to bed.
But the kind of change that occurs during the course of a 14-year career as director of athletics and if there's one word that defined Don Amiot's time in that role at Minnesota State which began in 1988 and ended in 2002, it was change.
"If there's one thing I've learned is that change is constant," said Amiot.
Indeed. During his time in charge of Maverick Athletics, it must have seemed like an everyday occurrence.
When he first came on board the Maverick men's athletic department was separate from the women's and Amiot coupled with Georgene Brock, the women's AD, to run things. When Brock retired in 1999, Amiot oversaw both departments. He was involved with the developent and building of the Mankato Civic Center (now known as Verizon Wireless Center), which opened in 1995. The school added women's soccer in 1996 and women's hockey became a reality in 1998. The men's hockey program transitioned from NCAA Division III to Division I and was accepted into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association beginning in 1999-2000. Taylor Center came online in 2000 and a new Myers Field House opened the following year.
And while he can't take credit for it, the school that was known as Mankato State became Minnesota State University, Mankato in 1998.
Now, more than ten years removed from the day-to-day running of the department, Amiot says he looks back on his time with great pride.
"We had our challenges, certainly," he said from his Mankato home. "But we worked hard every day to respond to what those were. We were able to get things done and it's great to see how far things have come since then."
Pointing to the success of several current teams the Crookston, Minn., native feels the Mavericks will continue to ascend.
"Things continue to evolve. With the break up of the North Central Conference and the move to another league in the Northern Sun, unquestionably, that's affected things. I don't know how anyone can look at the overall success of the programs and say that that's a bad thing. I watched the football game Saturday online and, while you certainly didn't like to see the game end the way it did, it's incredible to think what those young men have accomplished over the course of the last two seasons. And they should continue to be one of the top teams in the country the next year and the year after that."
"The key has always been putting good people in charge of programs. And the school has done that." said Amiot. " I look at when we hired Matt Margentler to run our men's basketball program in 2001. He hadn't been a head coach at this level, but he brought a tremendous amount of energy and the timing was right. He's surrounded himself with great people like Mike Schott and it's not a coincidence, especially with Taylor Center, that the men's program is considered one of the best in the country."
Although Amiot and his wife, Jo, still have their home in Mankato, they spend three or four of the winter months at their Arizona residence near Apache Junction. "There's a number of Minnesotans there, including Ron Hybertson (former MSU professor who served as the school's faculty representative during Amiot's career). And we enjoy visiting our grandkids in the Twin Cities and Madison (Wis.)."
It's great to be Maverick!