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Bailey's Take on Pirate Sports

From the Anchor Desk
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
By Brian Bailey

Door open for Floyd as AD search evolves


It looks like East Carolina's recently-appointed chancellor is determined to get it right this time. Dr. Steven Ballard’s search for a new athletic director is going to take some time.

Tuesday, Ballard and his task force took the day to interview three separate executive search firms. Ballard said his group could interview as many as five firms before making a decision on which one to hire.

Ballard says he’s had success with search firms in the past.

“I’m very encouraged,” Ballard told a group of reporters during a break from one of Tuesday’s meetings. “But I’ve had excellent luck with search firms in the past. They help to identify people that may not be publicly in the market but who could be very interested in ECU. That’s what we want to make sure we do this time.”

The last time, word leaked out that Ballard had found his man in Oklahoma athletic department administrator Ricky Hart, the son of former ECU Athletic Director Dave Hart. The collective Pirate nation expressed its dissatisfaction with the pick because of the younger Hart's relative lack of experience. Ballard got the message and the search continued.

“We think search firms give us more options,” Ballard explained Tuesday. “We can attract some excellent candidates here. We wanted a deeper pool this time. We think a search firm can help us identify people that may not be publicly in the market, but after a discussion may be interested in ECU.”

Ballard noted that many athletic programs typically use search firms. Evidently, he didn’t realize that until after the Hart fiasco. Give the new chancellor credit, though, because he seems bound and determined to get this thing right.

There is a certain faction of Pirate faithful who wonder why the university is spending money on a search firm, with a viable candidate already running the ship in Nick Floyd.

“I think Nick is doing a great job,” Ballard explained. “We just restructured his contract. We did that because of his performance. Nick will have to decide if he wants to be considered in this round. He has plenty of time to do that. My own view is that he’s serving very well right now.”

Ballard doesn’t want this to be a one-man decision, a perception that he gave with the choice of Ricky Hart.

“We have two goals,” he explained. “One, I hope there is consensus from the task force and the search firm on who the right person is. Secondly, from the very beginning we want someone to move ECU forward.

"We’re not making any presumptions on who that could be. Nick is a candidate for that, but I want to build a consensus from these seven people about who the best person in the country is for ECU athletics.”

Ballard may be right. If a search firm does come in and determine that Floyd is the best candidate, then so be it. It may cost a little more, but the important thing at this point is to get the right man.

After all, what’s a couple of more months, when the guy that’s running the place has things going so smoothly?

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02/23/2007 01:29:32 AM

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