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McBride enjoys personal aspect of Division II athletics
Dan Lenzen
Antelope Staff
Photo by Dan Lenzen
Athletic Director Jon McBride sees similarities between passionate fan support at the University of Florida and UNK fans. He took his job at UNK after his wife, from nearby Sutherland, urged him to take a look at Division II schools in the Midwest.

Gainesville, Fla. and Kearney are two very different places, and UNK Athletic Director Jon McBride, can see both similarities and differences including size, financial resources and, oh yes, the weather.

McBride came to UNK after working in the University of Florida athletic department as the assistant athletic director for external affairs for 12 years.

With strong roots in the Midwest, McBride is originally from Athens, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Ohio with a degree in RTV Management and master's in sports administration and facility management.

While at Ohio, he volunteered for the Ohio athletic department prior to grad school and became interested in a sports administration degree. “After my first job at LSU, I took a position as the number two person at Saint Louis University. My boss (the AD) at SLU resigned, and I interviewed as the internal candidate for that position. It was through that experience that I knew that my ultimate goal was to become an AD,” McBride said.

McBride’s opportunity to achieve his goal came after he applied at UNK and interviewed twice for the position before finally landing the job as the school’s athletic director.

McBride said the major difference between UF and UNK is merely the difference in the size of the schools. “Florida. is about 10 times bigger in the size of enrollment than UNK, so the biggest difference is the availability in financial resources,” McBride said. As for major differences between the two states, McBride said, the weather.

“On the other hand,” he said, “they are similar because the people are very passionate and loyal supporters of their state’s institutions. There are numerous major Division I programs in the state of Florida, but only one major institution in the state of Nebraska.”

McBride was associated with many notable coaches at UF: current UNLV Head Basketball Coach Lon Kruger, current UF Head Basketball Coach Billy Donovan and Steve Spurrier, the current head football coach at the University of S.C.

McBride chose to take the UNK Athletic Director job because of the supportive campus and community of Kearney. McBride said UNK was a very established and successful Division II program, and he was ready to return to the Midwest. He said the most rewarding part of his job is working on behalf of the very quality student athletes and coaches and watching the student athletes mature and graduate. The most challenging part of his job is stretching the budget dollars to keep quality programs and facilities at UNK.

McBride says one of the major reasons he came to UNK was his wife, Karen. She is a native of Sutherland, and she pointed out to him that UNK had a solid athletic program. After interviewing at other schools about AD openings and not liking the fit, McBride decided that a Division II school may be the best fit for him. “I had interviewed for four Division I jobs but just didn't like the fit after each interview. Some people suggested that Division II might be a better fit for me, and I have enjoyed the more personal aspect of Division II,” McBride said.

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