Brian Wickstrom is entering his third year as the director of athletics at ULM. He was introduced as the director of athletics by ULM president Dr. Nick Bruno at a July 2, 2013 press conference.
In Wickstrom’s second year at ULM, the football program finished its fundraising goal for the endzone facility and an official ground breaking ceremony was held on March 2, 2015. Construction of the facility officially began in April of 2015 and the project has an expected completion time of eight to 10 months. This is the first privately funded facility in the history of ULM Athletics.
Men’s basketball had a banner season as the program won a total of 24 games and became the first-ever Sun Belt program to play a game in the month of April. During this run, attendance set all-time highs over the past 20-years. Not only have athletics programs been competitive on the court, but in Wickstrom’s two years at ULM, a total of 285 student athletes have been honored at the annual Maroon and Gold Banquet for posting a 3.0 GPA or higher.
During year one at ULM, Wickstrom has had an impact on athletic facilities as baseball, soccer and tennis all added to their current facility. Wickstrom also secured funding for the expansion of the sand volleyball courts.
In addition to various upgrades at baseball, soccer and tennis, Wickstrom, in a three-month span, raised $2.98 million in major gifts for the football endzone facility project. Wickstrom also has been a part of securing the top 5 gifts in ULM Athletics history. Wickstrom also oversaw the addition of ”Tailgate Terrace” for fans to tailgate during home games. New field turf has been installed thanks to the largest commitment in the history of ULM athletics and going forward, the new home for football will be JPS Field at Malone Stadium.
Men’s and women’s basketball saw the addition of special courtside seating for the 2013-14 season and five different sports set new single-game and season attendance records in 2013-14 (sand volleyball, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball).
In 2013-14, the athletic department outsourced its ticket sales and management to The Aspire Group, while outsourcing sponsorship sales to Learfield Sports. The department also launched a new official online merchandise store as well as an auction website and a new photo store.
Prior to arriving in Monroe, Wickstrom served as the director of intercollegiate athletics at UC Riverside from 2011-13. During his tenure, Wickstrom established an $80 million dollar multipurpose facility (project on hold as of Sept. 2013), while the athletic department also completed a track facility renovation ($2.8 million) and a basketball practice facility renovation ($1.2 million).
A men’s basketball APR improvement plan was also implemented as the men’s basketball program posted a 989 during the 2011-12 year versus a 887 score the year prior to Wickstrom’s arrival. He also initiated and completed a logo/rebranding effort that involved the community, alumni and students and also increased overall involvement.
Wickstrom spent the previous five years as a member of the UTEP staff where he was involved in all phases of the day-to-day operations of the department including the supervision, hiring, and evaluation of staff and coaches, working with a $20 million athletics operating budget. Wickstrom oversaw all areas of External Relations while serving as the sports administrator for a number of Miners sports including the UTEP men’s basketball program and football operations.
Wickstrom was also heavily involved with the planning, design and fundraising efforts for the state-of-the-art Foster Stevens Basketball Center.
In Wickstrom’s tenure, the Miner Athletic Club produced the top two annual fund incomes in the history of UTEP Athletics and the three highest football season ticket numbers in the history of the program were reached.
Wickstrom was instrumental in securing the 2011 C-USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament for El Paso. The tournament produced close to $1,000,000 net of expenses for the conference.
A native of Overland Park, Kan., Wickstrom arrived at UTEP after spending two years as assistant athletic director for development and business partnerships at the University of Michigan. In his time there, he served as the primary contact for $5.4 million dollars in corporate sponsorships along with cultivating, soliciting and securing $23.6 million in commitments for the Capital Campaign (includes two gifts committed but closed after departure).
Wickstrom was associate athletics director at Santa Clara University from 2001-03. He served as the sports administrator for women’s basketball and directed development efforts that produced $8.2 million in commitments over a one-year period. Wickstrom also oversaw the $42.8 million Athletics Capital Campaign.
He started his career in collegiate athletics at the University of Missouri from 1999-2000. As assistant director of athletic development, Wickstrom’s primary focus was the department’s $100 million capital campaign and facility fundraising projects.
Wickstrom was a track and field athlete at Kansas State University, earning his undergraduate degree in business administration/finance in 1991. He added an MBA masters of business administration/management from K-State in 1992. Wickstrom completed his master’s in sports administration from Ohio University in 1999 and his doctorate in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University in 2006.
While at UTEP, Wickstrom was heavily involved in the community, as evidenced by his appointment to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board by the Mayor of El Paso. He also served on the United Way Resource Allocation Committee.
He and his wife Celina have three sons, Vince, John Christian and David Grant and one daughter, Bricelle Leigh.