New ISU Athletic Director Ready to Tackle Pandemic, MVC Foes


NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Kyle Brennan said the minute he saw the athletic director position open at Illinois State, he told every search firm in the nation he wanted the job.

He got it. And finally got to Normal.

Illinois State introduced Brennan as its new director of athletics on Thursday. It was the first time Brennan came to campus as he was interviewed through video conference calls earlier in the month due to the pandemic.

COVID-19 has gripped athletic departments across the country and Brennan, 45, hopes he can still operate a successful department even in a tight financial climate.

“It’s going to be me getting out and meeting people, all of us fundraising together,” Brennan said. “I think what’s important is for us to be creative as well. During these times, we have to look for every source of revenue and every opportunity.”

Brennan comes to ISU after a 12-year run at the University of Utah where he was most recently the chief operating officer and deputy athletics director for internal operations. Prior to that he had stops in the athletic departments at Northern Illinois, TCU, Ball State and Utah.

“The pandemic has not been a good thing for anybody. But I think the good thing that’s come out of it is it’s caused us all to reflect a little bit more on how we are doing things, what we are doing and how we might be able to do them differently,” said ISU president Larry Dietz. “I know he is an innovative fellow and we’ll be able to figure things out together.”

Brennan succeeds the retiring Larry Lyons and will start Jan. 15. This spring he will see fall sports like football, volleyball, cross country and women’s soccer which had their seasons moved due to the pandemic.

He comes to campus in the early stages of the basketball season. Brennan says he wants ISU athletics to dominate the Missouri Valley Conference in all seasons.

“Generally speaking, I would like to see a program that is always improving,” Brennan said when asked about how he evaluates coaches.. “When you start a season and it ends better than it starts. You have something that is always on an upward trajectory. There are wins and losses. At the end of the day, we are here to win, so that is important.”

He and his wife Beth have three sons: Patrick, Mac and Murphy. Brennan says they will relocate to central Illinois soon.

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