Grainger Hall: March, 4th 2014 7:00 pm
Tonight, Sports Business Club had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Mike Lipp, the Athletic Director at Madison West High School. Madison West High School has ties with UW-Madison in that 100-150 West students are taking classes at UW-Madison while still in high school. West also sends about 100 graduates per year to UW-Madison. Mr. Lipp has been employed with the public schools for 40 years. For 35 years he taught high school chemistry and physics. For the past 5 years Mr. Lipp has been Madison West’s Athletic Director and declares that, “working in high school athletics is simply a blast.”
So how did he get there? Mike was very into watching and listening to professional baseball and hockey when he was growing up. That’s where his passion for athletics started. “When I came to the realization that I could not play for the Dodgers, I changed my interests to swimming and soccer”, Mike said. He moved a lot as a kid, and played or tried almost any sport. When appointed to the AD position he had taught for 35 years, coached 51 different teams, spanning across 4 different sports.
Currently, Mike is responsible for managing 23 sports with 64 teams, 1,300 athletes, 84 paid coaches, and 33 volunteer coaches. 65% of Madison West high school students are in athletics. He has a $165,000 budget to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Mike describes his budgeting process as, “no frills... we haven’t bought uniforms in 15 years with that budget”. That’s where the boosters of Madison West high school come in. They are constantly fundraising and spending money on the teams.
On a day to day basis, Mike does things such as hire security for football and basketball games, schedule facility and field space, arrange transportation, hire coaches, and meet with the booster club. He also has to deal with vendors when buying uniforms, awards, and equipment. When working to get things done Mike says, “Get involved. Don’t just complain without offering a solution.”
Mike’s main goal is helping students and athletes reach their full potential. About 20-30 kids per year from Madison West will continue on to college athletics. Enduring relationships with his fellow coaches, the kids, and their families are really what it’s all about for Mike. He says, “I go to work everyday knowing my avocation is my vocation. I like Sunday night because I know there is school the next morning. When I get to work every morning I read the sports page, not hiding from my boss in the corner, but out in the open at my desk because it is my job.”
Thank you, Mike, for offering SBC a unique perspective on working in sports!