Daron Montgomery lead the athletic department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for almost half a decade. That was more than enough time for him to make an immense impact at the university.
He was at the helm for numerous changes and accomplishments at UWSP including a complete overhaul of the school’s logo, hosting the 2014 Division III Women’s Basketball National Championship, 15 WIAC Conference Championships and a 70 percent increase in gifts given to UWSP athletics and sports funds.
While his record speaks for itself, when asking Montgomery’s peers, they believe he made his largest impact through the relationships he built.
“His big thing was energy. He was always filled with a ton of energy. How he communicated with us was never in a negative way. He was always looking at things with the glass half full,” Kelly Romano, UWSP Executive Athletics Assistant, said.
Montgomery first took over at UWSP four and a half years ago when he replaced Frank O’Brien, who Montgomery credits for making the job an easy transition.
“I had the foundation for success laid out for me by my predecessor, Frank O’ Brien,” Montgomery said. “He brought in a lot of successful staff and coaches who knew what it took to run a good program.”
Montgomery also created the Purple and Gold Club that gave not only donors, but the entire community the ability to give gifts to the athletic department. He was also a part in receiving a 100 thousand sponsorship gift from a donor, which was the largest amount ever in the athletic department.
“When it came to the donors, I always tried to do what was best for them, because they are giving back a lot to this university and I was always immensely grateful for that,” Montgomery said.
In the fall of 2012, Montgomery launched a complete make over of the university’s logo. He conducted questionnaires and surveys with the staff and student body in order to get a grasp of what not only he, but the entire campus, wanted to see. The final product was one of the more gratifying accomplishments of his tenure.
“I felt it was important to give this university a brand identity, and that obviously starts with the logo. I think that in part got the university excited and gave us a chance to grow that brand,” Montgomery said.
“Him and I went through a ton of pictures and objects to figure out what is UW-Stevens Point, and tried to portray it through the logo and also the motto,” Mitch Capelle, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, said.
That motto, “One Point,” can be seen on banners across the athletic facilities on campus today and embodies the mentality of Montgomery.
“He really pushed for this whole university to be together, one point, and that sometimes doesn’t get mentioned how big that motto is to our brand as well,” Capelle said.
For many of the staff and student-athletes, it was Montgomery’s ability to connect with as many people as he could and separate business from personal life that stands out the most about him.
“He always is asking about our families, how our kids are doing, what the students wanted to do 10 years down the road. I got very close with his entire family and he wasn’t like that with just me, but everybody,” Romano said. “We had 550 student-athletes, give or take, and I don’t know how he did it, but he made sure he knew the name and story to almost all of them.”
With all the success and accomplishments Montgomery achieved while at the university, he said he felt like now was a good time to take on a new challenge.
“I have nothing but great things to say about my time at Stevens Point and I will miss it a lot, this job here at Saint Anselm was just another good fit for not only me, but my family, and that is very important to me,” Montgomery said.
While Montgomery is moving on, UWSP won’t ever be far from his mind and his impact will continue to be felt for years to come.
“What makes college athletics and higher education so great are the people and relationships you build over time, which also makes it the hardest part about leaving and starting somewhere, but hopefully I left the university in a better spot than where it was when I came,” Montgomery said.
Frank O’Brien will return to his spot as the Athletic Director of UWSP on an interim basis. He held the spot for 20 years, prior to Montgomery’s tenure.