It's hard to believe that Miami's athletic director -- the man who runs the whole show -- is under the age of 40.
It's sort of like Billy Napier becoming offensive coordinator at Clemson before he turned 30 -- it's a position of intense scrutiny with high expectations filled by a young, confident former football player driven by his desire to win.
Kirby Hocutt has only been at Miami since June 1, 2008, and he was recently selected as one of this year’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 Awards recipients. Hocutt is the only athletic director in the class.
From Miami's release:
The Forty Under 40 Awards program was initiated in 1999 to identify and honor the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40. Winners are selected by a committee of SportsBusiness Journal/Daily editors and writers.
“Our Forty Under 40 program recognizes the very best young talent from all the different segments of the sports industry, from teams and leagues, to agencies and media, to sponsors and partners,” said SportsBusiness Journal/DailyPublisher Richard Weiss. “This year’s class is another outstanding group of young men and women who are at the top of their game and who wield enormous influence in sports.”
The winners were chosen from hundreds of nominees and were cited for specific achievement in the sports industry, including demonstrations of innovation, entrepreneurialism, leadership and influence.
If Miami is going to return to national prominence, it has to start with the leadership at the top. It's up to Hocutt to extend or end coach Randy Shannon's contract. So far, Hocutt has expressed nothing but confidence in the direction of the program under Shannon, and he is expected to prove it soon with a contract extension. To this point, Hocutt hasn't given Miami fans any reason to doubt he knows what he's doing. Instead, he's been recognized as promising young talent -- something Miami has grown accustomed to recruiting but is still waiting for it to peak.