Saturday, December 18, 2010

These ADs fit bill for KU


The first search resulted in Kansas University selecting Tulsa’s Bubba Cunningham as its next athletic director, after he proved more impressive in interviews than Notre Dame deputy AD Bill Scholl, the other finalist. Those who fit what seemed to be the desired profile had reputations for high integrity, were on the young, energetic side and had extensive football experience.

Now that Cunningham turned down Kansas and decided to stay at Tulsa, Scholl is not expected to be offered the job. A list of athletic directors who fit the profile that seems to appeal to Kansas are worth exploring as potential candidates, some for the second time:

• Brad Bates, Miami (Ohio): Known for his impressive communication skills, Bates called a newspaper report that he had been recommended by the KU search committee to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, “completely not true.”

“I talked to the chairman of their search committee in October and I declined to get involved,” Bates told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I told them I was not interested. I’m completely happy at Miami.”

Too bad. By all accounts, he’s a solid guy. He played football at Michigan, where he earned his undergraduate (1981) and master’s (1982) degrees and earned a doctorate at Vanderbilt in 1997.

• Kirby Hocutt, Miami (Fla.): An All-Big 8 linebacker as a junior and a team captain as a senior, Hocutt earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State in 1995 and his master’s in education from Oklahoma in 2001. He worked as an assistant AD at Oklahoma and headed the department at Ohio University before heading to Miami in 2008 at the age of 36.

The timing wasn’t right for Hocutt to get involved during the first search because the school fired a football coach (Randy Shannon) and hired another (Al Golden).

If Hocutt believes the new football coach, who grew tired of waiting for Joe Paterno to retire from Penn State and left Temple for Miami, can return the Hurricanes to their golden years, why would he leave? Good question.

There is no indication sports-minded, hands-on Chancellor Donna Shalala called for the firing of Shannon and sent Hocutt to the microphone to take the heat for it, but if she did, that might inspire Hocutt to want to find a job where he calls the shots.

He’s a long shot, but one worth exploring.

• Steve Orsini, Southern Methodist University: A 1978 Notre Dame graduate, Orsini was a fullback and one of four team captains on ND’s 1977 national championship team. He has worked in the athletic departments of Notre Dame, Navy, Georgia Tech and Central Florida (his first head AD job in 2002). He also worked for the Dallas Cowboys. After recruiting more than 20 donors to commit $100,000 a year for five years to join what’s called “The Circle of Champions,” Orsini made a splash by hiring June Jones to coach the football team, and Jones has returned it to winning ways.

• Sheahon Zenger, Illinois State: Comes highly recommended to basketball coach Bill Self from his former assistant, Tim Jankovich. An influential Kansas faculty member also is very high on Zenger, a K-State alumnus who received his doctorate from KU. A native of Hays, he worked as an assistant coach to Bill Snyder at the age of 23. His personal, grounded style wins him friends in high places.


KEITHMILES05 11 years, 1 month ago

I'm sure when none of these people are selected Tom will have a huge fit and cry foul.

William James 11 years, 1 month ago

Good work Keegs. Thanks. Don't worry about the clowns that are still bitter with you cuz you predicted a 4-8 season before Week 1.

Jacobpaul81 11 years, 1 month ago

At this point, Keegan has demonstrated very little Journalistic skill. He's an opinion writer with opinions that quickly sour do to their inaccuracy. The guy is a joke.

I read his columns cause it gives me something to laugh about: How terrible reporting is in a city with a Journalism School that always ranks in the top 10 nationally.

John Mueller 11 years, 1 month ago

Not sure why hating on Keegan has become so in vogue, but there is a simple solution people.


I for one, get sick of all the negative posts on our hometown site.

If you have something intelligent to say in terms of constructive criticism, fine.

I am sure it would be well received by the staff.

But, good grief. When it is personal, all the time, it is simply not productive.

Shut up.

Btw, these comments DO NOT in any way, force me to relinquish my right to slam HCTG. He is awful and huge step backwards for Kansas football.

I also don't trust anybody with a hyphen in their name. What is up with that?

Pick a name, Gloria Steinhem.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

We all want Keegs to get better. And he is. IMHO, there is no doubt that the challenges to his weaknesses have made him get better. Most sports writers like sports and are competitive persons themselves. Keegs started in journalism, when IBM Selectrics were still in use. He started at ESPN, then just a cable hustle without any pretentions of journalism. He had to learn largely without persons that knew, or cared, diddledy squat about journalism. He developed in a largely analog journalism with feedback largely from editors and advertisers. I think he is doing a darned good job adapting to interactivity. He is basically learning on the job, making this all up as he goes, and trying to advance his career by climbing to a bigger, higher paying media market. It is not a crime for him to try and it is not a crime to point out his efforts.

Careers are what happen, while we are trying to earn a living.

Keegs benefits hugely from our negative and positive feedback. He changes, because of it. He gets better, because of it. Soon it will get him a better job at higher pay.

If you care about kegs encourage the feedback. It increases his click counts, which is largely how his bosses judge him. But when there is repeated, persistent consensus that he is failing at something, he gets better and thus avoids getting canned.

Think of all of us as his career lifejacket. So long as he retains thick skin, and adapts to the feedback when it makes sense, he is the luckiest guy in the world. Most jobs today lack so much feedback that hard working guys get in bad ruts without knowing it and then get fired without really understanding why.

Rock Chalk!

hawk316 11 years, 1 month ago

Occasional constructive criticism (when truly warranted) is one thing, but I think Spring is referring more to the mean-spirited personal attacks on Keegan. I agree that these are uncalled for, and I grow weary wading through such vile negativity.

I suggest that if our readers disagree with Keegan's opinion, feel free to say so and explain why. But do so with grace and be respectful. C'mon people, let's raise the standard a bit on this site and show some class.

Brad Avery 11 years, 1 month ago

Why deal with people at other schools? Remove the interim title from Sean Lester and give him a shot. Undoubtedly, he has been the one doing been doing most of the work anyway.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

Seriously. He is the most qualified out of the people mentioned. Which is kind of sad.

Coyotehawk 11 years, 1 month ago

For God Sake Keegan, Give it up.

Just leave the damn AD articles alone for a while.

The only news that needs to be published is when the University selects a new AD. This back and forth BS just to have something to write about is non-sense. Who gives a rats who would be good for the job or not. Fact is, not a single person on these boards has the authority to make the selection so it doesnt matter who we feel fits the bill or not. Theres only one article that needs to be written about the AD postition. Thats the article thats telling us who our new AD is. Not ones speculating who its going to be or who would be the best fit. FFS.

Dyrk Dugan 11 years, 1 month ago

coyote is exactly right. just stop already....the above article is proof positive. You list a candidate, and then you quote from the candidate, "i don't want the job....don't consider me...i'm happy where i'm at."

TK, you are totally obsessed with this story...and it's all because the LJW, (obviously from your sources) posted the original story, of "KU to name AD" and you got totally burned by it.

i mean, it's totally wasting everyone's time. the public now has plenty of general names to consider...and we will consider them. KU will now take a bit longer to hire a candidate than originally forecasted....who cares? the best candidate for this gig hasn't surfaced let the process take place.

we're getting ready to play basketball today, on ESPN with a highly anticipated frosh making his debut. can we just focus on that? print no more stories about the AD search, unless it's to announce the official press conference time.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 1 month ago

Two ksu alums huh? I'm sure that will go over well with ahpersecoachingexperience. . .wait aren't I? ? ? Never mind.

And since when did being tied to ND become a qualification for the position?

And why not give it to the guy who was the second choice?

And when did we start considering ourselves a lower teir school that couldn't go after bigger fish.

And why are we not using a consulting firm or just letting bill self hand pick the new ad.

bookerrx 11 years, 1 month ago

Coyote and mvjayhawk are exactly right. This is not a newsworthy event or story and should not be until a press conference is called and people are sitting behind a table with a podium and microphone! Enough speculation about nothing. As for bashing TG, I will jump on this bandwagon......This article is an example of his filler crap. I could have come up with 4 names, linked them to some tie to the University or Bill Self and called that my list of good guys. Act like a real journalist Keegan, and do some actual reporting or investigating, until then enough with this junk.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: inside the search for an AD

Slug: XTRee back ground checks stifling AD search

Background checks in the information age have become so able to ferret out flaws in candidates that all candidates are being rejected before they can accept.

Jns stringers report further that candidates saavy about the XTReme background checking process have now begun to plant negative disinformation about fellow candidates to get competitors disqualified.

Jns stringers interviewed XTReme Background Disinformation expert, Dov Doppleganger, of the Johnnie Hopkins Center for intel Funded Disinformation Research about the phenomenon of candidates either declining interest in the high paying KU AD job, or withdrawing suddenly and without credible explanation.

Doppleganger said, "XTReme Background Disinformation (XBD) is here to stay. My game theory models predict that very shortly no one will be acceptable for any employment and so Americans will become a nation of beggars on welfare. At that point slavery will be re-instituted and America will be reorganized into an archipelago of forced labor camps serving .5% of the American population controlling 99% of what remains of the nation's wealth."

Jns stringers note that some disagree with Doppleganger's gloomy forecast.

Dr. Elsbeth Purse-Winthrop of the Rosicrucifixion Founfation for the advanced Study of Uncertainty reminds that " remains very difficult to accurately predict any thing about any thing and so one must evaluate all forecasts with XS, or XTReme Skepticism."

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

KUfan88 11 years, 1 month ago

Sheahon Zenger is an absolute winner!

Dirk Medema 11 years, 1 month ago

Tom - You're in serious denial about your own age when you consider mid-50's () to be "young".

On the positive side, don't sweat the whiners here who appear to either have never changed jobs, or never been wanted enough at the previous employer that they made a counter-offer to retain them. That isn't an uncommon occurence, but usually isn't quite so public.

You have had a few stories now to appease the whiners who continue to whine - even without cheese, so hopefully you will set the issue aside for a while and cover the real sports. Lots of BB coming, and any news on Anthony Pierson or other FB recruits being on-campus this weekend? There was suppose to be quite a crew (several 4*'s and teammates) the last few weekends also.

rockchalk32 11 years, 1 month ago

It's Tom Keegan's job to analyze and comment.

Kansas needs a high integrity business person who understands the midwestern culture, and can make tough decisions. Another qualification should be running a growth business in a dynamic environment. There are certainly some highly qualified individuals mentioned in this article, but there are a number of other candidates who could do a terrific job.

Monte Johnson was an "outside the box" candidate in his time, but when you review his tenure, the department made tremendous progress, was operated with high integrity, and he led the department by example. Let's hope the search committee can find someone with ties to Mount Oread, who will see the opportunities and embrace the challenges and lead the department to new levels of success for the best University in the country.

Rock Chalk!

floridajayhawks 11 years, 1 month ago

They need an AD that can sell KU to a BCS conference. Yes, I don't think the new Big X will last. I give it 5 years.

Bear86 11 years, 1 month ago

It's hard to believe that KU can not attract a proven D1 AD. This is very concerning as an Alum. With all the university has to offer why is your first choice (from a smaller school) turning down the offer to become the next AD. There is something going on that we are not hearing. Gray-Little seems to be disconnected (like this summer) from the world of college athletics. Seriously Bubba?? Tulsa?? KU's future does not look bright from where I'm standing. F-Texas!!!!

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