At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Blum was formally introduced to the community. She thanked her friends, family, and peers for the nomination and shared her plans for moving the department forward.
"The work isn't going to be different," Blum said. "I'm going to show up tomorrow and be doing the same things that I was doing yesterday and the day before but having that title just means so much to me. It's just a huge privilege to be able to be here and have that and be able to take that into the future and work with these student-athletes and these coaches."
Her peers said Blum has a work ethic second to none, and that her understanding of the job has grown each month since taking over.
"It was a tough decision but Kim comes to this with such passion and she's grown so much and she's proved that she wanted this job," said Dr. Paula Knudson, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, who made the announcement of the appointment Wednesday. "That passion and that drive I think has set her up to provide the leadership we need, and she's ready. This is Kim's time."
Blum, who received a Master's degree in sport administration and a Bachelor's degree in recreation management from UW-L, received news of her hire while in North Carolina for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships. She stepped away from the action long enough to return Knudson's call. The women's track and field team later won its first indoor title.
"I had to take text and say 'can you wait a minute? We have four athletes in this next race. I need to wait a little bit,' Blum said. "I stepped outside and called her back and got the great news in the middle of North Carolina, in the middle of an industrial park in North Carolina."
Knudson said she called Blum in North Carolina because she wanted to speed the hiring process up.
"I wanted to give her time over the weekend to think about the offer and what it would look like for her, I wanted her to be able to talk with her family. I also know that Kim is very responsive and would pick up the phone," Knudson said. "So part of it was once I had met with all the stakeholder groups, I wanted to get to her immediately and make the offer and mover our process forward. I know what's on the near horizon and so I wanted to get our leadership in place very quickly."
Since then, Blum has been busy preparing for the start of the spring sports schedule, but has presented a plan to her staff. In her interview for the job, she stressed venturing out into the community to forge new relationships and increase fundraising amounts, something she hasn't had much of chance to do as an associate athletic director.
Knudson said it's the next step for Blum to take in growing the department and her own image.
"She knows that challenge is there for her. She knows the need of the program is there, and she'll step up," Knudson said. "She'll learn, she'll make some mistakes, but she'll grow, and she will move us forward."