Thursday, February 23, 2017
Don't make the "AD from the outside world" mistake
The Athletic Director's job is pretty complex. An AD deals with millions in revenue. Represents the school in a partnership worth hundreds of millions (the ACC). Leads an operations team that must pull off dozens of huge events each year. The Department also must sell and raise money. Then there is the human management aspect of being in charge of staffers, coaches and hundreds of athletes. Wearing all those different hats makes things comparable to a CEO. Other colleges have recently tapped CEOs from outside the sports world to lead their Athletic Departments. I hope BC doesn't make that same mistake.
Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas have all hired non-traditional ADs recently. All looked to accomplished business types to take over their huge departments. Other smaller profile schools have done it too. In most cases the results have been bad. Even the arguable best -- Notre Dame -- has still had problems. Too often the outside CEO is not used to the bureaucracy, politics or spotlight that comes with the job. Given that BC just had an AD who didn't adjust to our internal politics, I don't want another leader who struggles with the same mistakes. Each failed AD can set back our program another three or four years as we slog through a bad hiring cycle.
Any good CEO delegates. So I am sure BC could rationalize hiring an outsider and letting him/her put more experienced college admins around in supporting roles. But even with a team of staffers, there are two areas an AD cannot delegate: hiring and firing coaches, and raising money. Even if we don't promote someone who has done it at a Power 5 level, I still want someone who has hired a coach before. And I also want someone who has raised money. Raising money is tough. You have to grovel, beg and stroke egos. Bates didn't care for it and that is part of his downfall. Our new AD cannot be so proud or stubborn. He or she is going to have to sit through the dinners, play those rounds of golf and burn up phone lines. It is not fun or glamorous, but that is the job.
BC could have taken a risk four years ago. That time has gone. Now get someone who understands the job and is willing to embrace it. Not someone who is just learning and adapting.