Fall 2018 / Sports & Recreation

New VC of athletics shares his career journey

Karlton Creech was introduced in February as DU’s new vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Introduced in February as DU’s new vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations, Karlton Creech has had a long career in college athletics, much of it in his home state of North Carolina. We sat down with the new VC to talk about his career journey and how it led him to Denver.


My first job

Pharmacy cashier, Chapel Hill

It helped me get a good start on learning about what it takes — learning about responsibility and having to show up on time and being polite to people. Doing things when you didn’t want to do them or you didn’t think you were supposed to have to do them. To get that experience was very valuable. And it carries through today.


First job in athletics

Ticket office, University of North Carolina

I quickly learned that this can be a really cool career if you make it work, so I really started to take it seriously at that point. I figured out, “Wait a minute, there’s this whole industry behind making that game day happen, and I can do that, and somebody will pay me to do that?” It clicked pretty early for me.


Back to my alma mater

Wolfpack Club, NC State

I worked for a guy named Bobby Purcell. He’s a legend in college athletics fundraising. The first thing he taught us was that it doesn’t matter who walks in that front door. If they’re a hundred-dollar donor or a million-dollar donor, you treat them all the same, with respect and kindness, and answer their questions. That stuck with me.


Last job before DU

Director of athletics, University of Maine

The pressure and the stress and the opportunity to lead an organization were great. Maine is a wonderful place. I enjoyed my time there. It’s a very challenged place, financially and geography-wise. That’s the lesson I learned: You’ve got to work even harder. You’ve got to think even more creatively. You’ve got to be more adaptive and agile to make things work. And that’s what I learned there. There was a challenge around every corner. To be put in that position really helped me grow and learn.

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