After spending more than 20 years in the world of college athletics, Athletic Director Michael Cross is still hungry to bring continued success to the Bradley athletic department.
Cross comes from a professional background of prestigious universities such as the University of Michigan and Princeton University. His time at both Michigan and Princeton have influenced his decision making at Bradley, Cross said.
“I was surrounded by success in everything I did, whether it be coaches winning national and conference championships coupled with a high level of academic excellence,” Cross said. “I also was in an environment that operated within high standards of core values, that are important to any organization if they are going to be successful.”
When Cross started as Bradley’s athletic director, he introduced a new mission statement and a set of core values of his own.
The mission statement Cross brought to Bradley says, “Provide every student-athlete the opportunity for both a distinctive education and a championship experience.”
Along with the core values of accountability, courage, diligence, integrity and respect, Cross said he believes these ideas can carry the identity of the athletic department.
“To succeed here, we need to follow the core values with people who want to live them everyday and [we] can do that with what we have to offer,” Cross said. “[We provide] great facilities and academic institutions along with an amazing environment for someone’s son or daughter to spend the most important four years of their life.”
In his time at Bradley so far, Cross has accomplished a great deal, as he has been a key leader in the introduction of Renaissance Coliseum, the Adidas apparel deal, multiple new coaches, a new logo and a new mascot.
“In a lot of ways, my situation was a gift,” Cross said. “I was able to walk into a place that I was able to shape where people will have the offices and set up and methodically set everything up.”
Looking into the future, Cross said he understands that he has a lot left to give to Bradley. Despite rumors last year when his alma mater SUNY-Buffalo’s athletic director position became available, Cross stayed in Peoria. He said he doesn’t plan on going anywhere soon.
“We have a lot of unfinished business here,” Cross said. “My focus is here and [with] our coaches and student-athletes fulfill the mission and core values.”