Bryan Blair, largely seen as Pat Chun’s right hand man in the Washington State Cougars athletics department, is set to leave Pullman to become the next director of athletics at Toledo, as first reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
Blair — WSU’s deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer — is only 37, but he’s largely seen as a rising star in the collegiate athletics world. He is one of those people who’s not well known to most casual fans, but he has had his fingerprints on lots of significant initiatives within WSU’s athletics department, where he has worked for the past four years.
In addition to leading the group of administrators that oversees the day-to-day operations of WSU’s varsity sports, Blair was charged with developing and executing the school’s UNLEASH initiative, which is a strategic five-year plan for WSU’s athletics department that runs through 2024. He also assisted in the coaching searches that landed football coach Jake Dickert and men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith, among others, and he also has been a leader in the school’s diversity initiatives and spearheaded the school NIL efforts. And that’s really just a sliver of what he does.
Blair seems like the kind of guy who would have been in consideration for a promotion to AD if Chun ever moved on from his position, as he has been close to doing a number of times — we know Chun has interviewed for at least a handful of bigger jobs around the country. The experience Blair will gain at Toledo would only bolster his potential candidacy down the road for a job like WSU’s, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him be a prime candidate if this were to happen a couple of years down the road.
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