“We really are building a culture of excellence,” Pauline Thiros, athletic director at Idaho State University said. “We are just trying to really raise our expectations in everything we do from our marketing and our graphics to the way that we work with our teams and our facilities and the way we run our games and events.”

Thiros became the interim athletic director last year and the university officially named her athletic director in March. Previously, she coached the volleyball team at ISU for three years and worked with university development before becoming the athletic director. She has enjoyed her new position and is excited about the future.

“We have a lot to be optimistic about!” she said. “We are pretty excited about the year to come.”

The school is focused on expanding coaches and staff so student athletes can get a great experience, she said. This year, the Athletic Department hired three new head coaches in women’s soccer, men’s basketball and women’s volleyball. She is excited for what the future holds for these new coaches.

Thiros said the football schedule is tough this year, but they are ready for it and they will welcome back several players. They will renovate their stadium in 2020.

“I think those are two things that we’re pretty excited about in terms of our new coaching hires and our renovation ahead of us,” she said.

She explained that many universities have to work around a tight budget and departments get used to working under little means.

“We’re just really trying to get rid of that deficit mentality and think about where we want things to go and how we want our events to look and the experience we want our student athletes to have,” she said. “We know that cost more money but our strategy now is how do we go and get it and make that happen?”

In order to reach this goal, the school is working on doing more fundraisers, increasing student fees and increasing institutional funding. She said they’ve had to do things differently, but they are seeing success.

“One of the most exciting things…has been the positive response from donors and from season ticket holders and from the community in general getting excited about supporting Bengal athletics in a really significant way,” she said.

Student athletes have enjoyed their experience at ISU, she said. They feel supported by the community and many fans come to support them in their sporting events.

ISU’s homecoming game is October 12, and they will play the University of North Dakota. They played them last year and won, and they suspect it will be a great game this year.