Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AD successor with Midwestern ties likely

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks at a press conference regarding the retirement  of Athletic Director Lew Perkins.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks at a press conference regarding the retirement of Athletic Director Lew Perkins.


Reader poll

How would you grade Lew Perkins' tenure at KU Athletics?

  • A 26% 1431 votes
  • B 31% 1719 votes
  • C 15% 824 votes
  • D 12% 681 votes
  • F 14% 779 votes

5434 total votes.

Not even two hours after Kansas University acting athletic director Sean Lester said he wants to become an athletic director at Kansas or elsewhere, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued a statement that said, in part: “While I am confident in Sean Lester’s ability to lead Kansas Athletics as interim athletics director, he has expressed to me that he is not a candidate to be our next athletics director.”

Clearly, the search for a replacement for Lew Perkins got off to a confusing start Tuesday.

Anyway, the chancellor, in her statement, announced that the search committee will have five or six members and will be announced by the end of next week.

Major hires in athletics tend to zero in on candidates who have major differences from the previous person sitting in that chair. Based on that, look for the search committee to center on administrators with more a Midwestern than Northeastern sensibility.

Also, given the fallout from the ticket scandal that pushed big-money boosters of KU athletics several rows back in Allen Fieldhouse, expect a candidate the fan base can trust to make sure every area of the department is handled with integrity.

The chancellor’s lack of experience in athletics makes trying to forecast the field of potential successors difficult, but look for the leading candidates to have all or most of the following qualities: a reputation for integrity, Midwestern ties, strong salesmanship that can lead to reviving fundraising to the level it was at before the scandals hit and knowledge of how to heighten the profile of the football program.

A look at candidates who match some or all of those characteristics:

Gary Barta, Iowa: A high-energy, driven worker who went from Wyoming to Iowa in 2006, Barta has a strong reputation for integrity and fundraising skill, and his daily exposure to one of the most rabidly loved football programs in the Midwest certainly mesh to make him a strong contender. Plus, he’s not afraid to acknowledge when he makes a mistake, as he showed by firing basketball coach Todd Lickliter three years after he hired him. But would he uproot his young family to leave a great job?

Mike Bohn, Colorado: Former KU backup quarterback and member of the baseball team, Bohn has served as CU’s AD since 2005. He played a role in helping the Buffs get into the Pac-10 during the conference shakeup that threatened to dissolve the Big 12. He also served as athletic director at Idaho and San Diego State.

Jay Hinrichs, Northern Colorado: To meet him is to like him, remember him and want to see him again, all great qualities for a fundraiser. Made a great hire when the school was searching for a basketball coach. Tad Boyle was such a hit, Colorado stole him. Hinrichs used to work in the Kansas City Royals front office and at KU in the Williams Fund, when it was scandal-free. Does he have a strong-enough football background?

Cheryl Levick, Georgia State: She has been athletic director at Santa Clara and Saint Louis and was a high-ranking administrator at Maryland and Stanford. One noteworthy strike against her on the fundraising trail should she become Kansas AD: She’s a Missouri graduate.

Craig Littlepage, Virginia: In his current position since 2001, Littlepage has such a high national profile he was head of the NCAA Men’s Div. I basketball committee in 2006. His image took a hit when he came off as a control freak in 2008, when he banned signs from all the school’s sporting events, a ban lifted by the school president.

Bernard Muir, Delaware: Muir’s desire to be at a school with a bigger football program was thought to be the main reason he left Georgetown, a Big East school, for Delaware of the Colonial Conference. Before going to Georgetown, Muir served as Deputy AD and was a secondary administrator for football. A graduate of Brown University, where he played basketball, Muir worked for the NCAA for eight years and worked his way to become director of the Div. I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Personable style lends itself well to raising money. Reportedly butted heads with Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson II.


Ashwin Rao 11 years, 10 months ago

All the afore mentioned candidates have a basketball slant. Some may argue that our forte is BB, but I believe the next AD should have a neutral or a FB slant. We know that FB has more money! (Remember just a few days ago we were nearly conference-less because of this?).

Robert Brock 11 years, 10 months ago

Could he double the Athletic Department budget and thoroughly upgrade the facilities? If so, hire him. Unfortunately, NBA general managers don't do things like that.

Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 10 months ago

I'd scratch every KU, K-State, and Missouri grad from the list. While a KU grad would be okay, I'd rather have someone that's not going to be stuck in the rut of the way KU does things. We need new ideas and approaches to continue to build football, which is where our future revenue growth is. We don't need a KU guy with preconceived notions on the limitations of KU Football.

grandhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

How about Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky? Kanas guy, born in KCK, Ottawa Unitversity...midwest ties. He's shown the guts to make bold moves, i.e. Calapari (true, a slimeball), but he's a great fundraiser. Just a thought, I just don't want another Al Bohl to run off Self. I also want a guy that's not going to hesitate to pull the trigger on a coach not getting the job done. However, the fact Barnhart fired Self's friend Billy Gillespie may be a drawback. I don't know.....Argh! I get so tired of going through this stuff all the time!

Scott Perlmutter 11 years, 10 months ago

Sayers is a possibility here. I just say no Missouri or k-State grads. I'm not a fan of Gray-Little at all right now. She is in over her head.

Carter Patterson 11 years, 10 months ago

What we won't see in the papers are the strong candidates from large institutions who will privately inquire on the job. I think Mike Bohn is out based on the debacle at Colorado going to the PAC10 and the fact that the entire department is flat broke. Of course, that may not be all of his doing, but it certainly does not look good.

There will be a lot of top notch guys who would love to be the AD of a school with a storied basketball program like ours.

OCJHAWK 11 years, 10 months ago

Just wait for the "progressive" yes person to BGL hire, argh.

Rock_Chalk_NYC 11 years, 10 months ago

Exactly! Thats exactly what she wants... lets hope the $$$ power keeps her in place. Even better yet, let her make her stupid progressive selection and we then have grounds to fire her in a couple years. As long as the moron hired doesn't screw with our BBall program.

Hawk007 11 years, 10 months ago

That is just a terrible list. Why would you even put a Mizzou grad on there? There is absolutely 0% chance that person would be hired.

The only actual possiblity on there is Hinrichs.

Danny Hernandez 11 years, 10 months ago

I wish the Chancellor would look at Gale Sayers or John Hadl....both of these men love the school, are loyal, honest and dedicated to bringing Kansas football to the forefront so badly needed....Lets face it, it's going to take years of winning 8-10 games annually before the coaches can zero in on 4 and 5 star recruits that could keep Kansas in the top 15 nationally in football.

Rock_Chalk_NYC 11 years, 10 months ago

Good people and great to have them involved in the athletic department. However, no way in the world they should be AD's.

ku_foaf 11 years, 10 months ago

You may not remember, but years ago the NCAA basically told KU "Do not hire John Hadl as football coach unless you want us looking at every thing you do." I think this was about the time Glen Mason was hired, maybe as far back as Mike Gottfried. I was surprised to see him become associated with KU Athletics.

I always liked Hadl and was very proud of his KU ties during his NFL career. I don't recall what had led to the scrutiny of him, but there was bad aura around him at the time. I want to say he was involved with some of the issues that got Fambrough fired, but I could be wrong.

Gayle Sayers likes to stay out of the spotlight, and he's pretty old now! He was playing in the early 60s. He is a great guy, say him last night on TV at the Astros/Cubs game. Did not look old!

Chris1955 11 years, 10 months ago

At the risk of being hammered, I wonder who is backing up Deloss Dodds at UT? Football is the problem area and I think that our best bet for AD is someone who has the credentials of a major college football program behind them, i.e. Ohio State, Florida, etc. The Big 12 (10) is going to blow up sooner rather than later. I want someone with good connections to the Big 10.

caribhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

What goes around, comes around. Gill hired as the anti-Mangino, so I suppose the next AD will be the anti-Perkins...although I'm sure Perkins never anticipated this twist of fate! Perkins, God complex and all, now being viewed as a liability in the same vein he tried to make a monster out of Mangino. I disagree with many and believe that BGL has brought some accountabilty and rational decision making to the table, which has long been missing. I have the impression she forced Perkins out, good for her, we need a stand-up person at KU instead of the prevailing and closely guarded good ol' boys network spiced with Northeastern mentality. The next AD will not have any ties to the Turner or Bonnie hirings, its time to cut Bonnie and give Turner a short leash if he can't turn things around. Lets clean house in the athletic administration department!

OCJHAWK 11 years, 10 months ago

Who's to say BGL wasn't really behind the TG hire?

jayhawkintexas 11 years, 10 months ago

Looks like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel for ADs. Personally I think Kevin Prichard would eventually do a great job as AD. Don't know as though we can wait on his learning curve, though. We need a name person to preserve the BB program and drastically improve the FB program.

jhawkroger 11 years, 10 months ago

Might be a good idea to swear off of whatever you are drinking or smoking as it is making you think not so straight. I guess if you want to play bad mitten, tidily winks, and ring toss, your idea might fly but if you want to play the other sports that big colleges do, then you might want to rethink your comments. As for a a KU pay for view network, how many tv sets are in Kansas and how many of the KU alums do you think will be on board for this? I'll buy the network but how many more will?

rob4lb 11 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Chris. We need a strong athletic director who will successfully shepherd the school through conference realignment. I am not comfortable with the stability of the new Big 12. KU does not have a position of strength. What a difference a year can make. At this time last year, the future looked great- the fight between the basketball and football players had not occurred, the football team was ranking and a favorite to win the Big 12 North and the basketball team was preseason #1. Perhaps this week was the low point.

We cannot afford to lose Bill Self and weaken the basketball program, but we need to get competitive in football quickly. Conference realignment will resurface in 2-3 yrs if not sooner.

Lesta 11 years, 10 months ago

Methinks Bill Self will have a say in who gets this gig...Heck, at least have him break bread with the final candidates to make sure there's no potential problems with the relationship. Think about it, Bill Self was the face of the University during the Big XII alignment fiasco and how he's front and center in this situation. Understandably (and deservedly) so, he's the pillar of the athletics department. If Gray-Little doesn't see that and somehow the new AD clashes withh HCBS, resulting in him bolting a la Roy did, then she'll need to go back to Chapel Hill pronto...

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