Lincoln University is getting someone with plenty of experience in its new leader of the athletic department.
Kevin Wilson, who was introduced as the Blue Tigers' vice president of advancement, athletics and campus recreation last Monday, has been all across the country, working in Division I athletic departments at North Carolina Central, Central Florida, Washington State and Florida A&M.
Now he is making Central Missouri his home, in his first opportunity as the head of an athletic department.
"I feel like we have to take advantage of every opportunity we have, maximize our opportunity and treat every donor special, the way they need to be treated," Wilson said during last Monday's press conference at Jason Hall. "That's the way we're going to do it.
"The same goes for our coaches. We have to be really good stewards of our resources."
Wilson comes to Lincoln, a Division II school, with fundraising experience. During his time at UCF and Washington State, he helped secure major contributions to each school's athletic department.
"It's paramount. At the end of the day, you can't have championships without scholarships," Wilson said. "At the end of the day, our student-athletes have to have the resources to attend our institution. Across the board, we're going to be very aggressive by asking whomever cares about the navy and gray to get on board. We're going to be very unapologetic about it."
When Wilson first began working in college athletics, he got his start at NC Central, where his predecessor, John Moseley, was an assistant coach with the men's basketball program.
Wilson said he would never have guessed their paths would cross again in this fashion, as Moseley stepped down as men's basketball head coach and athletic director in May to become the interim president at Lincoln.
"He's a guy I've always respected as a man, as a father, as a coach and as an individual," Wilson said of Moseley. "He's just become a friend and I've always valued his opinion."
Wilson wants to continue building the link between Lincoln and the Jefferson City community. In addition to directing the athletic department and coordinating fundraising for the university, he will also oversee The Linc.
"You can see the partnership between (the city and the university) with the Boys & Girls Club on campus and The Linc on campus," Wilson said. "Those two facilities, you don't see that everywhere in the country in higher education. It's evident that the city wants to embrace the campus, and vice versa."
Wilson began his new position July 1 at Lincoln. He said he has interacted with all of Lincoln's head coaches. Some were in attendance at last week's press conference, while others were on the road recruiting.
"As they should be," Wilson said with a smile.
Wilson played football at Duke, where he graduated in 2006. He said one of the reasons he enjoyed his time with the Blue Devils was because of the coaches and what they were able to do for their players.
"That's what I appreciate about this group here, because one day that ball is going to stop bouncing and the coaches that care about you, they never get out of your life," Wilson said. "You're always going to see them, they're going to ask about you, because you're the reason why they get up every day.
"And I see that in these coaches. Regardless of our win-loss record — and we are about wins — they're going to raise young men and women. They're going to benefit this community."
Wilson said he came to Lincoln for two reasons. One is his belief in the university's mission "of providing exceptional educational experiences to a diverse population in a student-centered environment."
"Campus recreation facilitates the mission, in my opinion," he said. "Advancement will support the mission and athletics highlights the mission."
The second reason was to compete in a nationally competitive conference. Wilson noted the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association has won at least one national championship in every school year since 2009, with the Lincoln women's track and field team winning seven national titles in that span.
MIAA commissioner Mike Racy was in attendance for Wilson's introduction last week at Lincoln.
"You're graduating scholars, you're graduating professionals that are impacting their communities around them every day," Wilson said. "I think you do that here in the MIAA, it's very unique, and they do it at a high level. We provide a well-rounded athletic experience that we can really push for student-athletes."
Lincoln's first sporting event in Wilson's tenure is scheduled for Sept. 2, when the Blue Tiger football team hosts Washburn. One of the things Wilson wants to enhance at Lincoln is the game day experience, regardless of the sport.
"I've been told that Homecoming is incredible," Wilson said. "We're looking to take the elements and the magic that you see at Homecoming, and let people know that you can have that same magic for other weeks."