AD: Lopes’ Focus Building Basketball, Not Starting Football

Mike Vaught has hit the ground running.

The Grand Canyon University Vice President of Athletics has had no choice since arriving on campus last summer. The “Canyon chaos” continued Wednesday when the school announced four-year contracts for Dan Majerle and Andy Stankiewicz and a five-year deal with Nike.

“It’s been fast-paced but it’s been great,” he told’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview. “We move at a fast pace here…GCU is really changing by the day and it’s exciting.”

Much of the excitement centers around Majerle and his program which continues to grow and improve as they find their way through the early years of life in Division I. The Lopes won 17 games last season and participated in the Postseason Tournament for the second consecutive year.Β 

“He’s a tireless worker,” Vaught said of the Suns’ legend. “We’re excited about his leadership. We feel like our basketball program is going in the right direction. We want to be an NCAA tournament team. I think we can do that in the near future.”

What GCU won’t be doing in the near future or likely ever is adding a football program and some speculated after hiring Vaught who worked on staffs at Arkansas, Texas State, Navy and others over a 20-year span. He has a close relationship with ASU’s Todd Graham from their time together at Rice.

The Lopes are grooming the Lopes’Β men’s soccer team, with a brand new state-of-the-art on-campus stadium being constructed, as their “marquee” fall sports attraction with an emphasis on keeping GCU hoops trending up.

“We want to be like a Butler, like a VCU,” Vaught said referencing two quality basketball programs.

“We got our focus where it needs to be.”

It certainly appears that way.