When it comes to athletics, most people know the coaches, players. and the teams. However, there is a man that everybody with Bellevue College athletics knows quite well. That person is the Athletic Director Bill O’Connor. O’Connor has been the Athletic Director at BC for eleven years. He has had a lot of experience in athletics playing both collegiate and professional basketball. He also know the coaching side of the game as he was the assistant coach for the 1973 Division I Seattle Chieftains who made it to the Final Four that year. After that he worked in the seafood industry for over 25 years before coming over to BC as the Athletic Director.
In his 11 years he has done a lot of things for the sports programs. Some of the more noteworthy things he has accomplished have been securing funding for scholarships, getting the athletics name out there and renovating the softball field. A normal day for him includes many things, including meeting with the players. “I see them every day, especially when it is in season. I have direct contact with the kids and the coaches every day. I watch practices whenever I can.” He is never just behind the scenes. He is always with players and coaches to see how his programs are doing. Even when he can’t make it to the games, he always makes sure there is a higher up staff there. “We have the responsibility to have an administrator at every home match that we have.” O’Connor is always in direct contact with his athletes and coaches.
One of the biggest problems that O’Connor has been trying to tackle in recent years has been the issue of student attendance at events. Attendance for most sports has been very low due to a number of factors including time conflicts, work and homework. Tackling this is O’Connor’s biggest goal. “Our main goal this year is to increase the attendance from our students here at Bellevue College to the games and matches. It is disheartening sometimes to not see as many students in the stands as I think we would like.” This has been a problem for BC athletics for a number of years, so O’Connor has a bunch of ideas on how to get students more willing to come to the games. “We are planning on having pizza giveaways, we are planning on having Coke giveaways and we are thinking of having a game where we give away Sounders tickets.” However, the main thing that he needs is more people to come and cheer on all of the sports teams that has to offer.
Bill O’Connor is more than just an Athletic Director. He is a true fan of sports, and is able to work with them to help get them what they need to both survive, and thrive. However, they need the support from the BC student body. The more fans that show up, the more likely the team is going to play harder to win for their crowd. That is what O’Connor is trying to accomplish.