Guy Rozier reported to his new job Monday two days earlier than expected or required.
“I’ve been waiting 4 1/2 months for this job. What’s two days between friends?” offered Rozier, the new Assistant Director of Development in Nebraska’s Athletic Department.
“I guess it’s been a little longer wait than 4 1/2 months,” he said a second later. “If you really want the truth, I’ve been waiting to come back to Nebraska since I left here in 1985.”
Describing his job as a “dream come true”, Rozier said it proves that life can come full circle.
“This is the culmination of all the things I’ve done to build myself as a man and a business person,” Rozier said. “When you’re asked to help carry the torch for a university, an athletic department and a state that you love, it’s enough to bring tears to your eyes. I mean, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I just couldn’t wait any longer to be a part of this team.”
And, oh, what a team it expects to be.
Associate Athletic Director for Development Paul Meyers heads the team that now includes three former Nebraska student-athletes. For 15,000 Husker donors, those three, in essence, are the face of the Nebraska Athletic Department.
1) Meyers, a former Nebraska assistant baseball coach and first-team All-America outfielder;
2) Mike Dobbs, a four-year Husker letterman pitcher who was hired six months ago as an athletic department development officer; and
3) Rozier, who came to Nebraska from Camden, N.J., on a football scholarship, earned two letters and now returns to oversee annual contributions for football, basketball, baseball and volleyball tickets, among other duties.
Batting Cleanup is Your Athletic Director . . .
With Meyers hitting well with major donors, Dobbs is meeting current donors and introducing himself to other prospects, and Rozier becomes a third important run-producer in this never-ending game called relationship-building.
Now, if all goes according to plan, this lineup can field questions, find solutions, develop rapport and score well with the best of fund-raisers. You don’t have to be play-by-play man Greg Sharpe to call this kind of action. “Meyers, Dobbs and Rozier have loaded the bases, and now the Huskers’ cleanup hitter comes to the plate . . . Tom Osborne.”
“I like it,” Meyers said. “If you’re going to sit down and pick individuals who best represent what Nebraska athletics is all about, Mike and Guy are two guys who do just that. When you look for individuals who can relate to our donors, I can’t imagine two better ones to be on the front lines than those two. They care about this university and this athletic department as much as Tom and I do.”
Now that Rozier and Dobbs can take on some of the ticket, parking and annual contribution issues, Meyers can concentrate on his most pressing challenge – Nebraska’s new $17-plus million basketball practice facility that also will be home for Husker wrestling.
That massive project comes on the heels of a successful capital campaign that raised $10.5 million for the new Nebraska Student Life Complex and enhanced displays for recruiting paths throughout NU’s athletic facilities.
Yes, Guy Rozier is Mike’s Brother
Nebraska Athletics welcomes Guy Rozier with open arms.
“It was perfect timing for me when I caught wind of this opportunity,” said Rozier, who has lived most of his adult life in the shadows of Mike Rozier, his Heisman Trophy-winning brother and a former Nebraska teammate.
Not anymore. Osborne, Nebraska’s athletic director, worked diligently with Meyers to put together a job description that demanded multiple skill sets, and Rozier emerged from the 95 applicants as the most appropriate match.
Rozier has an extensive background in sales, business development and marketing. He left Lincoln for California in 1985 and worked his first four years for Paramount Pictures in the entertainment industry. He then worked six years with the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado, helping USOC host festivals and games around the world.
His next stop was New Haven, Conn., where he combined ownership in two restaurants, a radio station and a nail salon with stints as a high school head baseball coach and junior varsity football coach. For the last seven years, Rozier has been a senior sales manager in hospitality with Marriott and Hilton hotels in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Guy Rozier has done enough to know he didn’t get his newest job because of his last name. “Guy got that job because of his work ethic and business background,” Mike Rozier said. “He’ll do a great job for the athletic department. Every donor he meets will enjoy Guy because he’s smart and humble, and he’s one of those great listeners.”
Smiling when he hears about his older brother’s confidence in him, Guy said, “I firmly believe that in order to build strong relationships, you have to be a very good listener. You have to listen to know what’s really important in people’s lives. It’s the only way you can analyze people’s personal needs. Then, if you emulate Coach Osborne, you don’t provide answers. You help people make the decisions that work best for them.”
Rozier Aligns with Program’s Overall Vision
Rozier respects Osborne’s values and knows they’re in alignment with Meyers’ philosophy. “Together, we have a vision of how we can all come to the table, hit the streets and help people get involved without trying to force anything on anyone,” Rozier said.
The same principles apply to Development as they did to competing at Nebraska.
“There’s a certain passion understood by players who played here,” Meyers said. “When you’ve worn that Nebraska uniform, you understand that passion. It’s a whole different level of commitment to the program. All of us who played here and now work here know that ultimately, we’re defined by production. In sales, it’s important to believe in your product. That’s why Mike and Guy stick out. They’re devout in their beliefs about Nebraska.”
Meyers, Dobbs and Rozier all say those beliefs are based on two things – a sense of family and a spirit of teamwork. And they all agree that everything they do is interdependent with their teammates in Development – operations manager Derek Freeman, suite coordinator Peg Slagle, development specialist Lindsey Freeman and administrative assistant Judy Weaver. The Development Office also works hand-in-hand with the Ticketing Office, headed by Holly Adam, whose team includes Kristi Reetz, Leah Sinner, Angela Christ-Zemunski, Andrew Truslow and Karen Williamson.
“They’re all great teammates, and we couldn’t do our jobs without them,” said Dobbs, who coordinates the Scholarship Endowment Program in addition to his job on the front lines of fund-raising. Before coming to Nebraska, Dobbs worked 11 years with the Lincoln Public Schools as a teacher and coach and nine years in sales with Crouch Recreation.
Dobbs relishes his role to communicate with donors on a daily basis. “Our job,” he said, “is to build relationships with all current and potential donors and to get out there and say hello to them, so we can thank them for what they’ve done in the past and show them how they can help us in the future.”
Dobbs: People Excited About Being Connected Again
When Dobbs came on board last fall, Nebraska was just finishing the financing on the student life center. “The new basketball facility is the hot topic right now,” he said. “We really need that facility, and we really need everyone’s help.”
Meyers has no doubt that Nebraskans will step up to upgrade Nebraska’s basketball and wrestling facilities.
“The relationships we’re developing on the basketball side of it were actually developed years ago,” Meyers said. “In the world of fundraising, it takes a long time to go from unknown to committed, so we’re lucky we have great products, great coaches and the greatest fans in America. When you put all that together, you get things done.”
After spending months canvassing eastern and central Nebraska and South Dakota, Dobbs is ready to hit the panhandle. “Everywhere I go, people are so happy with the direction of the football program,” he said. “But they’re also happy with the athletic program as a whole. They’re excited to see Coach Osborne leading us, and they can’t wait to tell me how it makes them feel connected again.”
That connection, of course, is woven into Nebraska’s character, trust and loyalty.
“My mom always said that to this day, a good name is more important than all the money in the world, and look who’s leading this athletic department,” Rozier said. “I would hope that if anyone else had gotten this job, they would have started two days early, too.”