Ken Grosse

Senior Associate Athletic Director, UC San Diego


Favorite Quote:

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

What separates you from others in your field?

“Those of us in athletics, college and otherwise, are typically hard-working, very competitive people. I’m definitely not the most brilliant person, but I hate to lose, so I’ve always made it a point to never be outworked. Also, what others consider work, I actually love. I often hear people say that ‘athletics is not like a job.’ I honestly feel like that and absolutely enjoy interacting with people—particularly our student-athletes and coaches—it’s genuine and I think people understand that.”

When was the last time you were down and out and how did you overcome it?

“Great question because I’ve found that even the greatest, most talented people (those far better than me) have doubts and question themselves from time-to-time. While that may not exactly equate to being “down and out,” it can be debilitating. With a 23-team intercollegiate athletic program and a relatively small staff, my worries usually involve stress about whether or not we will be able to get everything done in a quality fashion within a particular time frame. I’ll often wake up at night and not be able to get back to sleep thinking about the multitude of tasks in front of me. I’ve found the best way to get through that apprehension is to create a short term list and be sure to include several jobs that are very easily handled. I’m the kind of person who thrives on momentum and sometimes just getting a few things done helps overcome the paralysis that can often accompany having too much to do.”

What advice would you give someone trying to provide value in their job, profession, or field?

“Focus on the job at hand and doing it well. Don’t get pre-occupied with getting ahead, the next job or receiving credit. I see a preponderance of younger people now who are so concerned with moving up the ladder and getting recognition for every little thing they do that they don’t actually achieve or produce much of anything that really benefits the organization. There’s a growing generation of people who have learned their jobs only through taking classes and reading books. Those people tend to apply those lessons to their jobs without really spending the time to learn about their organizations, the colleagues around them and the customers they serve—they don’t apply their education to their job’s specific environment. My rule of thumb is that if you’re not in a position at least three years, you probably haven’t made a significant impact that has long term value.”

What motivates you?

“Different things in different situations. Some that readily come to mind are taking care of my family, the respect of my peers, helping others, making others happy, competition, and fear of losing.”

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