This isn’t for publication, so whatever you do, don’t breathe a word of it to anybody.
Kansas University’s search committee to identify an athletic director to recommend to the chancellor has targeted a mystery candidate as an object of its affection and has done a masterful job of keeping that candidate’s identity cloaked. So take this guess as what it is: pure speculation.
Stanford University athletic director Bob Bowlsby could be that man.
Although Stanford has continued its dominance in the national all-sports standings (Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup) under Bowlsby, and Jim Harbaugh was an outstanding hire as the football coach, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Bowlsby since leaving Iowa to take the post at Stanford in 2006. He was slammed for his handling of basketball coach Trent Johnson’s departure to LSU, for example. The jury remains out on Johnny Dawkins, the man Bowlsby hired to replace him.
A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Bowlsby held the top spot in the Iowa athletic department from 1991 to 2005. He was chosen as the head of the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee in 2006.
Sound like a reach? KU pays better than Stanford, and this region of the country might fit his personality better than Palo Alto.
— The committee is open to unconventional candidates, so don’t rule out the possibility of Denny Thum, who resigned last month from his job as president of the Kansas City Chiefs, will get a serious look. Thum started with the Chiefs as an accountant in 1974, the same year he graduated from Rockhurst.
— Was that just me or did anybody else hear what that strong gust of wind just whispered, that Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham didn’t wow every member of the search committee? That’s the problem with committees, you have to please all the people all the time.
— Let’s see, Minnesota is searching for a football coach to turn around the program that headed straight south under Tim Brewster. Jon Wefald, the man who hired Bill Snyder, who executed what many believe to be the most remarkable savior job of a program headed for a smaller division, has strong ties to the land of 10,000 lakes. Before heading to K-State, Wefald was chancellor of the six-state university system in Minnesota. You don’t suppose the U is seeking his advice on where to turn for a football coach, do you?
— Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson, a big-time winner for most of his career, has been tasting the other side of the score too often lately and finds himself on a seat hotter than an Tempe summer. Since the start of the 2008 season, Erickson has a 12-19 record overall, 7-15 in conference.
ASU could be the perfect landing spot for ousted Texas Tech coach Mike Leach’s aerial attack. Canned KU coach Mark Mangino’s area of expertise is offense, and pink-slipped South Florida football boss Jim Leavitt’s is defense. All three coaches’ ousters pointed fingers at rough treatment of players. What better way for the three successful head coaches to rehab their images than to win football games together? That’s the sort of splash needed for the Sun Devils to regain lost turf now that Mike Stoops has things humming in Tucson.