College Sports in the Carolinas
from the East
Thursday, May 28, 2004
By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News &
Time to reconsider AD hiring
The East Carolina board of trustees was supposed to meet in Raleigh on
Thursday with the search for an athletics director among the topics to be
discussed with incoming chancellor Steve Ballard.
There apparently will be no rush to judgment to find an AD for the Pirates.
Ballard may have concluded that the best course of action essentially would
be to start the search process over again.
If Nick Floyd is willing, he may be asked to continue handling the position
on an interim basis. The powers that be would be wise to take a good look at
Floyd for the position fulltime. Floyd is the son of Ralph Floyd, who was
athletics director at Indiana during his career. Nick has spent most of his
professional life preparing to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Nick Floyd thought he could handle the AD job at ECU when he was asked to
fill in nine months ago, after Mike Hamrick left for Nevada-Las Vegas.
Floyd's time on the job has proven to him that he can. If he doesn’t become
ECU’s choice, he will likely be given an AD opportunity elsewhere.
It says a lot about Floyd that the ADs in Conference USA made him chairman
of the league’s competition committee this past spring even though he was an
interim appointee at the time. The competition committee is studying such
issues as scheduling for C-USA’s retooled membership, potential division
alignment and the possibility of a football championship game.
If Floyd were to leave the interim post for another opportunity, retired ECU
athlete, coach and administrator Henry VanSant would be a good choice to
bridge the gap until a hire is completed. VanSant, who long harbored
aspirations of being AD at his alma mater, worked effectively in an interim
capacity prior to Hamrick’s arrival.
There may be some question as to whether VanSant would take the assignment,
considering that then-ECU chancellor Richard Eakin refused to allow him to
apply for the permanent position when the search process that resulted in
Hamrick's hiring was undertaken.
One element that may be added as the AD search is restructured is the use of
a consulting firm to identify and discretely act as an intermediary in the
search process. Some good candidates are reluctant to send resumes and
interview before a large committee because of concerns about the perception
of loyalty to their present institution or position.
A consulting firm that helped Clemson find basketball coach Oliver Purnell
has been recommended to some key ECU leaders.
The search needs to be proactive. Good candidates need to be identified and
pursued. The present situation resulted because the search committee
passively waited to react on those submitting resumes. It may not have been
the best possible pool of applicants, in part because of concerns about who
the new chancellor would be.
Another step in the process that has been missing is getting input from
current coaches at ECU, especially those in the major revenue producing
sports. The potential damage of a poor working relationship between the AD
and a major sport coach is unfortunately part of the Pirates’ recent history
and should be avoided if at all possible in the immediate future.
Coaches should have an opportunity to meet with the next round of finalists,
ask them questions and get a feel for their new boss. The university will
probably be investing more in paying its football coach than it will the AD,
even though the AD is higher in the chain of command. It makes sense to try
and assure that the football coach is a happy camper. This is an accepted
part of the AD hiring procedure at many institutions and the coaches should
be allowed to make a joint recommendation to Dr. Ballard if they desire to
Hopefully, Dr. Ballard will be able to provide coaches some feedback about
the hiring process as it progresses. Some coaches are on pins and needles
about who will be directing the department in the future and that’s not a
healthy work environment. It’s tough enough to be successful in college
athletics today without worrying about how things are going to work out with
your new boss.
There should be no hurry in getting the AD job filled. The job is being
filled capably on an interim basis. The concern should be on conducting a
thorough search in a proper manner. Hopefully, that’s where Dr. Ballard and
the BOT are headed.
Seek and ye shall find.
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02/23/2007 12:45:44 AM