April 10, 2012

New Cal State Stanislaus athletics director wants fans to watch the Warriors

Mike Matoso didn't mince words when asked what his first job would be as the athletic director at Cal State Stanislaus.

In short, he wants the community not only to come out and watch the Warriors, but once on campus make sure the enjoyment is strong enough to have patrons checking schedules for the next Stanislaus event.

"I'm all about fan experience and you have to make it a great family atmosphere to get people to come out, and then come back," Matoso said. "That involves everything, including the quality of the food and where you park for events.

"If it's a good event and fun to come to and the food is good and you had fun, then why wouldn't you come back?"

Matoso, who has been part of the athletics department at Division I University of San Diego for the last 13 years and has been the senior associate athletics director since 2005, was named Tuesday as Stanislaus' athletic director and will assume the chief athletics oversight role at the school on May 21.

He replaces Milt Richards, who had held the post since December 1998, but left in October to become the athletic director at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Warriors' women's soccer coach Gabe Bolton has been interim athletic director since Nov. 17.

Matoso, 41, had jobs as director of compliance and counseling coordinator at USD prior to his 2005 promotion. He previously was an academic counselor for the football teams at the University of Southern California and a graduate advisor for athletics at Cal Poly.

He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and a master's in education from Cal Poly, where he pitched for the Mustangs' baseball team. Matoso and his wife Kelly have three children: Abigail (11), Cole (8) and Brody (5).

Matoso mentioned that a strong family atmosphere shone through on his visits to Stanislaus during the hiring process, which made the position that much more attractive.

"The one thing I really liked was the sense of community here, not only within the athletic department but across the campus and the town," Matoso said. "The school has a unique opportunity because we're the only show in town. It's a matter of getting it organized and getting everybody on the same page with a clear picture of where we're headed."

Outgoing university president Hamid Shirvani, who made the appointment, lauded Matoso's experience in athletics administration, fund-raising, compliance and planning.

"I am confident he will have an immediate positive impact, and will take our athletics programs and student athletes to higher levels of excellence," Shirvani said.

Matoso's immediate challenges will be in the areas of fund-raising, since the school trails most of the Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association in the amount of scholarship aid it can offer its athletes, and also in raising the overall competitive level of the 14 men's and women's programs.

"I have a good idea of how to win," Matoso said. "We've won at every school I've been at. I think I have a good knack about how to work with coaches and athletes to set up clear goals and expectations.

"I love athletics and competing, and there's nothing more fun than winning the right way."

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at or (209) 578-2150. Follow him at


The Mike Matoso File

Age: 41

Current job: Senior associate athletics director, University of San Diego.

Previous jobs: At USD — Director of compliance, counseling coordinator; at the University of Southern California — football academic counselor; at Cal Poly — graduate advisor for athletics.

Personal: Married. Wife, Kelly; children Abigail (11), Cole (8) and Brody (5).

Did You Know: Matoso pitched for the Cal Poly baseball team that was a Division II World Series runner-up in 1993.

Display quote: “If it’s a good event and fun to come to and the food is good and you had fun, then why wouldn’t you come back?”

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