Potential AD candidates starting to get crossed off of KU's list
We might not be any closer today to knowing the identity of KU’s next athletic director.
But we are making progress on who it will not be.
In back to back days, two names of potential top-tier candidates for the open athletic director job were removed from the running — if they ever were in it.
On Thursday, Dan Wolken, of USA Today, Tweeted that sources had told him that SMU AD Rick Hart was staying put and would not pursue the Kansas job.
A source with information about the thought process of the search committee told the Journal-World early in the process that Hart was a name to watch and it appears that there was at least some interest in Hart by Kansas.
Friday, less than 24 hours after Wolken’s Tweet about Hart, University of Central Florida AD Danny White, who surfaced as a possible candidate almost immediately after Zenger was fired, took to Twitter himself to announce that he was not going anywhere.
“Unfortunately, I am compelled to comment on another institution’s search,” White wrote. “Disappointed that @SBNation stated that I met with another school about their AD position. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There’s no reason for me to do that. UCF is the best AD job in America!”
The report that White was referencing came from the Rock Chalk Talk blog and it was a bit of a reach to begin with.
In passing along the information, the writer first set up a couple of outs and then even went as far as to claim that the information he obtained came third-hand.
Still, when something like that is put out there in the public eye — good or bad, right or wrong, with good intentions or bad — it often gets legs very quickly and, clearly, White felt the need to address it, regardless of where the report or information came from.
I have not been able to run down whether White was involved in the search or not. He says in that Tweet that he did not meet with KU, but that does not mean that there was not contact at some point and it’s possible that he or his representatives communicated with Kansas in some manner, even if it was just to say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” if KU did reach out.
On the surface, White, to me, appeared to be a spectacular candidate, even if he would have been hard to pull away from UCF. Speculating beyond that, without any new information, would be a waste of everyone’s time since we now know definitively that White isn’t getting the job.
So who is getting it? That remains anyone’s guess and some of the candidates who were kicked around early on still appear to be viable options, while a handful of other new names have emerged, as well, with former Louisville AD Tom Jurich being the most intriguing of them all.
Jurich, you might remember, was fired by Louisville last October in the wake of the initial findings in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball. In May, Jurich reached a $4.5 million settlement with the school after disputing that he was fired with cause.
Reports indicated that Jurich considered suing the school, which later chose to dub his departure as “retirement” after reaching the settlement.
Earlier this week, KU Chancellor Doug Girod indicated to reporters after a regularly scheduled Athletics Board meeting that KU was entering the home stretch of its search to find a replacement for Zenger.
After first saying he expected to have good news by the end of the summer, Girod was asked more specifically about a two-week timeline he recently gave a room full of boosters and he confirmed that such a time frame was a possibility.
The search, which has been led by Drue Jennings in conjunction with Jed Hughes, a consultant for the Korn Ferry search firm, has been very tight-lipped and largely conducted out of the public eye.
One source with knowledge of KU’s search to find Zenger seven years ago, said the school elected to use Korn Ferry this time around to ensure the search be conducted in as private a manner as possible for the benefit of all parties involved.
While it’s still too soon to consider any kind of announcement imminent, it would not be a bad idea to clean out your ears and turn the attention dial up a notch heading into next week.