top of page
  • mmd

Making Your Own Luck and Leading in a Time of Change

Fred Glass Presents Leadership Lessons to BIOS Crowd in Indy
Former AD at Indiana University gave BIOS talk before Big Ten tournament quarterfinals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Champions do the ordinary things.

That is just one of the dozens of pieces of advice Fred Glass gave to a crowd of 30 researchers and intercollegiate athletics leaders in Indianapolis Friday morning.

Glass grew up as an only child. His father, George, bought a bar when Glass was five years old. For most of his childhood, that is where he spent his time listening and absorbing various life lessons from customers and those around the tavern.

One thing that has influenced his life is values-based leadership. He learned various principles while attending Jesuit school and tied that into his career in politics and intercollegiate athletics.

“Everyone wants to get big things done,” Glass said. “You must have the will and confidence to pursue them.”

Many opportunities have been presented to him throughout the years, but saying yes to them is what has helped Glass grow as a leader and champion in life.

In March of his junior year of undergrad at Indiana University, Glass decided he wanted to intern in the nation’s capital. He decided to go to his academic advisor to hear about different openings and how he could get to DC between the academic years.

There were not many options available. However, there was an opportunity for a fall internship. The position was set aside for IU students with Senator Birch Bayh who sat on the Judiciary’s Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution.

With this opportunity, Glass faced many doubts.

Graduating on time, working with a committee and not Bayh’s staff, and missing a semester at IU. His girlfriend, Barbara, did not take any of those excuses. Instead, she challenged them.

He applied and accepted the internship with the senator.

The experiences he had in that position impacted everything he has done since.

From law school at Indiana University – Indianapolis to his career path, he used his time in DC to grow as a leader.

He ended up marrying Barbara two years after the internship and they have been married for over 40 years.

“Opportunities often come at inconvenient times. Don’t let that prevent you from seizing them. Find a way.”

Coming out of law school he was set to begin a job at one of the state’s largest firms, but then he was alerted about a chance to serve a judge as a clerk.

The judge? US District Court Judge S. Hugh Dillin.

He told his professor, Dean Gerry Bepko, about the two jobs and had to decide what to choose.

Bepko gave him advice he would follow for the rest of his life.

“When choosing among opportunities, always choose the one that will open the most additional opportunities in the future.”

Despite the significantly lower pay, Glass pursued the clerkship.

Since then, he has used the advice from Bepko to choose what he would do next.

He holds a plethora of experiences with Callahan & Riley, Evan Bayh, Baker & Daniels, Indiana’s Bill Clinton reelection campaign, and Bart Peterson.

Some of biggest career successes at the time include bringing the Super Bowl to Indianapolis, helping politicians win races at various local and national levels, and influencing decisions in his hometown.

In 2009, he began a new challenge. He was named the athletic director at his alma mater. The lifelong Hoosier fan would now bring his life experiences to a department that faced numerous challenges from nutrition practices to past head coaching hires.

So, how did Glass make a lasting impact on Hoosier athletics despite zero working experience in athletics, yet alone higher education? He did it through values-based leadership.

The five principles he and his team implemented at IU:

1. Play by the rules

2. Being well in mind, body, and spirit

3. Achieving academically

4. Excelling athletically

5. Integrating with the university

Some of his accomplishments include the third winningest seasons for football in school history, consistent conference success athletically among all programs, active engagement in student-athlete development, and fundraising to improve facilities.

Glass engaged with members of the audience saying, “being a value-based organization is the critical component to establishing and maintaining a unified, optimistic, and effective culture, particularly during an era of unprecedented change.”

His words speak right to the heart as college athletics is facing several changes that can only be overcome through togetherness, positivity, and sufficient manners.

At the end of the day, Glass challenged attendees to be kind, do the right thing, keep learning, and to presume good faith.

In addition to the lecture, Glass was recognized with a Bell Cow Award.

The Chief Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, Dr. Karissa Niehoff, also received a Bell Cow award for her longtime service as a leader in sport.


bottom of page