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The colonel is the new Aggie leader, sir

A.D. Randy Spetman looking to take USU sports to new heights

Published: Wednesday, July 6 2005 9:16 a.m. MDT

Utah State Athletic Director Randy Spetman has plenty of seats to fill with a bare-bones budget but is upbeat about the future of Aggie sports.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

LOGAN — While sitting at his office desk, Randy Spetman sees items hanging in the room that serve as constant reminders of his past, present and future.

To his right hangs his flying helmet, scarf and gloves his troops presented to him when he was the commander of the B-52 Unit at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Straight ahead of him, enclosed in a glass case, contains all the insignias of his ranks in the United States Air Force and ribbons and medals he received during his 28 1/2 years of service. He retired as a colonel in April 2004.

Behind him is a plaque and sabre from the Air Force Academy Cadet Wing.

And finally, to his right hangs his father's World War II flight jacket and a photograph of his crew.

They represent his storied past.

Also behind him — in every sense of the word — is a family picture with his wife of 28 years, Becky, and their two children.

They represent the all three — past, present and future.

To his left are windows that look across Cache Valley and straight ahead of him hangs a plaque with the first dollar he raised for the Aggie Athletic Department.

They represent not only his future, but the future of the Utah State University athletic department — a charge he has taken seriously since taking over as the athletic director in the summer of 2004.

DAD'S FLIGHT JACKET

When Spetman looks as his father's flight jacket, he sees more than just the tangible evidence that his father served his country, but it also reminds him of what his parents, Ed and Glenna, taught him while growing up on a farm in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

World War II, in which his father was a gunner and radio man for a B-24 crew, was well over by the time Spetman was born in 1952.

He very rarely heard stories from his father about his tour because it was such a difficult time for him, and he lost a lot of his friends and comrades.

It wasn't until a few years before his father died that he learned more. His father's tour included numerous missions in North Africa, three crash landings and being shot once.

"I keep his jacket, ever since he died, in my office to remind me of what those guys did for us," he said.

After the war, his father was a banker and his mother was a homemaker. Both actively volunteered in the community.

Spetman was raised in an atmosphere where integrity, respect, honesty, hard work and faith in God were taught by word and example.

"If you told somebody you were going to do something you did it," Spetman said.

A man's word and handshake were as good as a signed contract.

"My dad was incredible as banker because he could sit at his desk and ranchers and farmers would come in and talk about borrowing money, and he knew just by talking with them whether they were going to pay him back or not. He could read people that way," he said.

The family was Congregationalist, and they attended meetings every Sunday.

"I believe He (God) has a plan for each one of us. It doesn't always go the way we want and you wonder why. You can help guide what the outcome is going to be, but He determines whether I wake up tomorrow. Really, I based my life of that."

FLIGHT HELMET, SCARF, GLOVES, INSIGNIAS

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