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5 things to know about Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin's next athletic director
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5 things to know about Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin's next athletic director

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University of Wisconsin deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh discusses the Badgers' football ticket plans on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. Video courtesy UW Athletics.

Chris McIntosh has been mostly behind the scenes for years, serving as the deputy athletic director at the University of Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez.

That will change, as McIntosh will be tapped as Alvarez’s replacement at a news conference Wednesday, according to State Journal sources. McIntosh, who joined the UW athletic department in 2014, was the person Alvarez wanted as his successor after McIntosh moved up the ranks and became Alvarez’s deputy in 2017.

The former UW offensive lineman has a background in business before entering athletic administration. Here are five things to know about McIntosh:

1. He beat out a strong field

UW’s search process for Alvarez’s successor was a quiet one — Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s office stayed quiet regarding candidates and even the campus groups she spoke to about the search.

According to a report by CollegeAD.com, Northern Illinois AD Sean Frazier and Ball State AD Beth Goetz also were finalists who interviewed for the position. Frazier was the Badgers’ deputy AD before getting a top job, Moore has a track record of launching student-athlete welfare programs at her stops and Goetz was a standout soccer player and coach before joining the administrative ranks, which included a stint as the interim AD at Minnesota.

Alvarez said he had faith in the committee chosen to replace him and believed McIntosh would earn the job.

“I know the committee, I know Pete Miller is going to be the chair of the committee,” Alvarez said. “I have a lot of confidence in Pete. They’ll have a process they go through and I'm sure Mac will do a very good job in the process.”

2. He has Wisconsin roots

McIntosh probably would be the most famous alumnus of Pewaukee High School if not for the Watt family.

Those in-state ties were partly what brought McIntosh back to UW in his adult life. In a Q&A with The Trust, an offshoot of the NFL Players Association that helps former players make the next steps in life, McIntosh said that a visit to campus to be inducted into UW’s hall of fame reinvigorated the love he has for Madison.

“Visiting campus reminded me of what an impact my college experience as an athlete had on me and who I became,” McIntosh wrote. “It was a complete leap of faith, but it seemed like it might be fun. … I've always enjoyed what I've done for work, but I absolutely love what I'm doing here. I didn't realize I could enjoy it as much as I do.”

3. He was a dominant offensive tackle

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Watch a highlight video from Ron Dayne’s Heisman Trophy season or of UW’s runs to back-to-back Rose Bowl wins in 1999 and 2000 and you’ll see McIntosh wearing No. 75.

McIntosh started a program-record 50 games for the Badgers, which tied the Big Ten Conference mark for consecutive starts. Not only was McIntosh dependable, he was outstanding. He earned consensus All-American honors his senior year and was the conference lineman of the year.

His accolades on the field become even more impressive when considering he had four knee surgeries as a high school senior and wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to play unencumbered.

He was drafted in the first round of the 2000 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks and started 10 games as a rookie, but a neck injury ended his career after the 2002 season.

4. He has a business background

Though his football career ended prematurely, McIntosh was able to find new avenues he wanted to pursue. With his background in athletics, McIntosh began working with health and wellness startups and was a partner for five years at Be Fitness and Wellness Center, a health club in Delafield.

In his roles in the UW athletic department, he’s been tasked with finding new revenue streams and was the associate AD for business development before becoming deputy AD. UW added new sponsors under his direction, and he helped secure a 10-year apparel and footwear contract with Under Armour, which generates $4 million per year along with other bonuses.

5. He was Barry’s consigliere

One of the reasons Alvarez supported McIntosh as the next Badgers AD was McIntosh’s increased role in the operations of the athletic department through his tenure.

Alvarez watched as McIntosh handled more responsibilities as the years went by and how he managed day-to-day operations.

“Very bright, and he's been outstanding,” Alvarez said about McIntosh. “I've given him a lot of responsibility. He spearheaded many of the things that we did, and managing staff and how we managed everything throughout COVID.”

One of Alvarez’s tenets as an athletic director was ensuring student-athletes had a positive experience, and he invested in facilities and programs to aid that effort. McIntosh experienced that as a player and has embraced that goal as an administrator.

“I think it's a huge honor, privilege and responsibility to help develop young people,” McIntosh wrote in The Trust Q&A. “I think what gets misconstrued is the idea our job is to win games or matches. Our real responsibility is to develop young people so they can be successful for the rest of their lives. Winning is a part of that, yes, but it's not the only part of it.”


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