The Indianapolis Business Journal has an excellent piece this morning on the search for a new athletic director and it includes a list of candidates that could potentially fill the opening:
Former IU basketball player and current Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Reynolds, IU Varsity Club Director Scott Dolson, former IU football star Harry Gonso, former IU basketball player and TV commentator John Laskowski and well-known Indianapolis sports attorney Jack Swarbrick are the names with the strongest local ties that have surfaced. Tom Jurich, the highly regarded University of Louisville athletic director, is the first and most prominent within the AD fraternity to surface. He certainly won’t be the last.
Not a bad list to kick off the search with, but the chances of Jurich leaving Louisville for Indiana are zero unless IU is willing to pay upwards of $750,000 (or more) annually. And given the financial packages that are currently on the books, it would be hard to justify that kind of cash for a guy who would likely want to come in and get his own guy to head the football program.
McRobbie, who departed the country for a planned trip shortly after Greenspan’s resignation was announced, is expected to make the final decision himself. He hasn’t said how the candidates will be identified, but sources within the university’s athletic department expect him to take one of three routes.
The most likely process would mirror the one McRobbie used to hire Crean. He formed a search committee to identify two or three finalists and made the hire after conferring with IU’s nine-member board.
Hopefully this will be the route used in the hiring as it would put McRobbie’s accountability front and center and give him a chance to put his stamp on the athletic department going forward. If he makes the right call, he solidifies himself as an important figure in the rebuilding process following the Kelvin Sampson fiasco. If not, well, you know the story.
The final point of interest from the piece is the debate on whether IU needs to hire an AD with “Indiana ties.” Mike Pegram, who runs Peegs.com, feels it’s a necessity while former IU cross-country and track runner Bob Kennedy isn’t so sure:
“I didn’t formerly subscribe to hiring an IU guy,” said Pegram. “But now I do. I just think now it’s so important to nurture the Indiana culture—emphasizing playing by the rules, graduation, doing things the right way. I think having the kind of sensibility that will come from someone with Indiana ties is now more important than ever.”
“We have to keep our horizons broad and get the best possible person,” said Kennedy, who was recently elected to the IU Varsity Club board of directors. “It’s up to the president and trustees to define a culture and hire people best able to nurture the culture you want.”
I’m going with Kennedy on this. If we subscribe to the “we need an IU guy” theory, Tom Crean is still in Marquette and we’re left with Steve Alford or Dan Dakich. The necessity is to hire best candidate out there, regardless of previous affiliations.
So, ITH’ers: A couple of questions for you to ponder and then discuss. What do you think of the early list of candidates? Any names that intrigue you? Do you want McRobbie making the final call on Greenspan’s replacement? And finally, do we need an “IU guy” in the role of athletic director?