PARK CITY — John Blazek's varied football background —college player, high school coach, athletic director, even some radio analysis — didn't include a general manager's role until Wednesday.
But now the Wild's new general manager has the challenge of selling out Hartman Arena consistently and keeping a winning team on the field.
"When you have an opportunity to sell a great product, that's pretty easy," Blazek said after being introduced Wednesday at Hartman Arena. "The first thing I'm going to start doing is to go out and meet the sponsors we have now. I want lots of input — from the administration, from (owner Wink) Hartman. I want input from our coaches and our players. I'm going to send surveys out to our season-ticket holders. I'm going to make sure I'm face to face with every sponsor we have."
The Wild averaged 3,303 fans last season at 4,850-seat Hartman Arena.
Blazek, a former Wichita State linebacker who was a high school coach for 20 years, also has the responsibility of fielding a winning team. Coach Ken Matous has coached the Wild to consecutive division championships.
"It's going to be tough on John with two back-to-back (division) championships," Hartman said. "So if we don't win at least a championship, the sun is going to shine on him a lot. He's going to have the support of not only myself but the staff and the coaches. It's a team effort. It takes effort on the field and off of the field to make successful football."
Though the team has had success over the last two seasons, Blazek is already looking for avenues to improve. That includes on the field and in the front office.
"The question is what can we do to get better? I've been around this game for a long time, both indoor and outdoor," Blazek said. "If you don't evaluate what you've done every day you'll never improve. I've got to get to the bottom of the numbers and find out where we're at and what we've got to do. It starts with a lot of hard work and shaking a lot of hands."
Blazek most recently was principal when oversaw the opening of Maize South High School in 2009, but resigned in December, taking early retirement and citing physical exhaustion. Now he has the task of overseeing the growth and improvement of the IFL's Wichita franchise.