ACC: Shawn Eichorst

ACC viewer's guide: Week 13

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
Much of the drama is already gone from the ACC slate, and the SEC rivalry games are still a week away. But there is still plenty to watch for in Week 13.

12:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, ESPN3, #VTvsWAKE
The Hokies can wrap up bowl eligibility with a win against Wake Forest, which given the litany of injuries Virginia Tech has suffered this season -- including tailback Marshawn Williams, who tore his ACL last week -- is probably commendable. The Hokies are coming off their second road win of the season against a top-25 foe, so the trip to Winston-Salem against a Demon Deacons team still looking for its first ACC victory shouldn’t be a huge test. Wake hasn’t been able to run the ball on anyone this season, but Virginia Tech’s defense allows 5.64 yards-per-carry on non-sack rushing attempts this season -- 104th nationally.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesJameis Winston and Florida State will try to produce a rare fast start this week against Boston College.
3:30 p.m.

Boston College at No. 3 Florida State, ABC/ESPN2, #BCvsFSU
A year ago, it was the Eagles who gave FSU its toughest game of the regular season. Now, BC is the ACC’s last chance to send the Seminoles to a conference loss. The matchup isn’t ideal for an FSU defense that has been gashed by the run on a few occasions this season, and after escaping a physical matchup against Miami last week, it will be interesting to see how focused the Seminoles are for this one. But with a season of close calls already in their rearview mirror, Jimbo Fisher no doubt has emphasized the importance of a fast start this week, and for FSU, it needs to start thinking about earning some style points to impress the CFB playoff committee.

Syracuse at Pittsburgh, ESPNU, #CUSEvsPITT
Pitt has lost three straight despite 1,040 yards of offense from James Conner and Tyler Boyd. The Panthers have actually dropped six of their past seven after a 3-0 start to the season, and now they must win out to have a shot at a bowl game. Four of Pitt’s six losses have been by five points or less, however, and Conner and Boyd remain two of the most potent threats in the ACC. Whether Syracuse’s underrated defense can slow down Pitt’s stars might be paramount, but the Orange will also need to find some offense against a Panthers team that has allowed 147 points in its past three games.

No. 24 Louisville at Notre Dame, NBC
The Cardinals are back in the top 25, but they will go to battle in South Bend without starting quarterback Will Gardner. Reggie Bonnafon will take over at QB coming off his best game as a college player last week when he threw for 69 yards, ran for 76 more and scored three times against Boston College. But the real intrigue might come on the other side of the ball, where Everett Golson leads an Irish offense that leads all Power 5 teams in turnovers against Louisville’s stout defense, led by safety Gerod Holliman and his 13 interceptions.

Georgia State at No. 22 Clemson, ESPN3, #GSUvsCLEM
Since Deshaun Watson went down with a hand injury last month, Clemson’s offense has more turnovers (11) than touchdowns (7), and that downward spiral hit rock bottom last week when Cole Stoudt threw three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. But as bad as Stoudt’s performance was, Dabo Swinney and the Tigers believe he’s still a capable quarterback, and certainly the job gets a lot easier this week. The bigger question now is whether it will be Stoudt’s job in two weeks when Clemson looks to end a five-game losing streak against rival South Carolina.

7 p.m.

Miami at Virginia, ESPN2, #MIAvsUVA
The Hurricanes are coming off a physical and emotional loss to Florida State and looking to rebound. Virginia is still clinging to bowl hopes, and might need to win out to salvage coach Mike London’s job. The key to the game might be how well the Hoos’ defense can slow Duke Johnson and the Miami running game, but as FSU found out last week, quarterback Brad Kaaya is certainly capable of doing some damage. Virginia, on the other hand, has just 59 rushing yards combined in its past two games, and it has scored on the ground just once in its past five.

Next Miami AD must embrace community

October, 11, 2012
For 25 years, Miami had an inordinate amount of stability at the top of its athletic department.

But that all ended when Paul Dee announced he would retire in 2008. Now Miami is conducting a national search for another athletic director, following the surprise resignation of Shawn Eichorst last week. So the grand tally is three athletic directors in the past four years -- compared to three athletic directors in the previous 25.

Is this cause for alarm at a program that has prided itself on being a national leader?

“No, it's not concerning at all,” football coach Al Golden said. “Shawn is a good friend and a great AD. He did what he thought was best for his family, and clearly that's different from how I feel or how [women's basketball coach] Katie Meier feels or how [men's basketball coach] Jim Larranaga feels. We want to be here at Miami, and we want to build this program.”

Golden brings up an excellent point. Miami must find somebody truly committed to the athletic department, somebody who has a firm grasp on the cultural dynamics in Miami, who realizes that he must roll up his sleeves and work hard to gain the attention of the community. Miami is no college town. Donation dollars do not pour in the way they do at places like Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, the need for somebody truly committed to both the university and the community flies in the face of the actual perception about the position. Miami is currently viewed as a steppingstone job, an image that has been fostered with the recent defections and its inability to pay on a grand scale. Eichorst, who left for Nebraska, will earn close to $1 million in his first year with the Cornhuskers -- believed to be a significant upgrade over what he made at Miami.

[+] EnlargePaul Dee
AP Photo/J. Pat CarterAn athletic director in the mold of the late Paul Dee could bring needed stability at Miami.
Factor in the cloud of potential NCAA sanctions, and Miami president Donna Shalala is in a tough spot. But former athletic director Sam Jankovich believes Miami can find the right person despite the questions.

Jankovich was at Miami from 1983 to '90, and oversaw the rise of the football program to national prominence. He also brought the basketball program back, and did it by working countless hours raising enough money to make his dream a reality.

“Miami is a great institution, South Florida is a great place to live and I don't think the University of Miami has to be a steppingstone for anybody,” Jankovich said in a telephone interview with “I think what has happened with the transition not only of ADs but coaches, they just have not had any consistency from the time Butch (Davis) left to when they hired Larry Coker, then they hired Randy (Shannon), then they hired now hopefully Al Golden will stay and do a good job. They've had a roller coaster.”

Jankovich has lived through scandals, and with the difficulty of making yourself stand out in a major metropolitan area. His successor, Dave Maggard, only lasted two years. After Maggard left, Jankovich urged school leaders to look at somebody with a deep understanding of Miami -- the program and the city. They found the late Dee, a Florida graduate-turned-passionate Miami supporter with ties to the program.

Dee oversaw the athletic department from 1993 to 2008. Never once did you get the sense he would rather be somewhere else. When he retired, it was only because he felt it was time. He stayed on as a professor at the university until his death in May.

The past two Miami athletic directors did not fit the profile Dee fit all those years ago. Kirby Hocutt came to Miami after stints at Oklahoma and Ohio University and spent 2 years with the Hurricanes before leaving for Texas Tech. Eichorst came from Wisconsin and lasted 18 months.

“Miami is a different place and you need somebody to understand the community and the university,” Jankovich said. “They’ve hired people from other places, but I surely would encourage them if there is somebody good, has roots as far as Miami is concerned and would appreciate the opportunity to be there, hire somebody like that.”

For now, Miami has appointed Blake James as interim athletic director. He has not made it expressly clear that he is interested in the permanent job, saying in an interview that Miami “is a great institution, it’s a great program. So when you look out there in college athletics, it’s a very attractive job. As long as I’m in this position, I’m going to continue to do the best that I can and carry the baton forward and help us achieve our goals as a program.”

Goal No. 1 must be stability.

“Yeah, we need that,” Golden said. “I don't think there is any question. “One of the characteristics we should be looking for is someone that wants to be a part of the South Florida community and be part of the Miami community and be here for a long time. It's important to all of the coaches, not just me. It's critical that we find someone that wants to be here.”

Someone, in a nutshell, who truly gets Miami.

Video: Four Downs -- ACC

October, 5, 2012

Heather Dinich talks about Al Golden's raw deal at Miami, the possibilities for Maryland, quarterbacks in Durham, and a Coastal Crush.

ACC's lunchtime links

October, 5, 2012
Will the Coastal Division crash again this weekend?

Miami searching for AD stability

October, 4, 2012
Well, this is getting awfully familiar for Miami.

The Hurricanes are searching for their third athletic director since 2008, now that Shawn Eichorst has resigned to take the same position at Nebraska. The ACC also now has its third program without an athletic director as Miami, Clemson and Boston College have hires to make.

The truth is, we hardly knew Eichorst. Terry Don Phillips and Gene DeFilippo made their marks at their respective schools. Eichorst? He was only around Miami for 18 months, and leaves no real stamp on a program that is in desperate need of some sort of stability.

Having an opportunity to return to the Big Ten must have been appealing, with an NCAA investigation hanging over the program he inherited.

It was his predecessor, Kirby Hocutt, who has been implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal that has sent NCAA investigators to Miami asking questions. Hocutt reportedly gave Shapiro carte blanche to Miami and its players, an allegation Hocutt denies.

It is not as if Hocutt hung around Miami for long, either. He resigned in February 2011 for the same job at Texas Tech, after spending only 2 1/2 years with the Hurricanes. It was enough time for him to fire Randy Shannon and hire Al Golden, who remains the head coach. The allegations against Miami surfaced in an explosive Yahoo! Sports report six months after Hocutt resigned.

So where does Miami go from here? Its last two athletic directors have left for jobs in bigger conferences, so you have to wonder whether the Miami position is now viewed as a stepping stone job.

That was not the case previously with Sam Jankovich and Paul Dee working long, hard years to build Miami into a major powerhouse program. There are issues to deal with to be sure, with a small booster base and an inability to shell out salaries in the highest area of the stratosphere.

Finding somebody who wants to stay for the long-term has got to be the No. 1 priority, particularly with NCAA sanctions down the road. The last thing Miami needs is somebody to cut and run for the third successive time. Who wants to roll up his or her sleeves and work hard to build on the integrity of the program? Who understands that Miami will always have the potential to be a national power despite some of the down times that may come?

Miami remains a special program, given its history, tradition and location. Now president Donna Shalala needs to find a special person to shepherd this athletic department into the unknown, with the promise that sunnier times remain ahead.

Report: Miami AD Eichorst resigns

October, 4, 2012

Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst has resigned and is expected to replace Tom Osborne at Nebraska, sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Eichorst has only been at Miami for 18 months. Miami has had a revolving door at the athletic director position in recent years. Before Eichorst, Kirby Hocutt spent 2 1/2 years with the Hurricanes before leaving for Texas Tech.

To read more of McMurphy's news story, click here.

Statement from Miami AD

August, 18, 2011
Statement from Shawn Eichorst, Director of Athletics:
"When I accepted the position of director of athletics at Miami in April, I not only embraced a new opportunity, but also a new family; a family of Hurricane students, coaches, staff, alumni, faculty and supporters. I know our family is hurting right now and that is what has made the past few days so difficult, upsetting and disappointing for me, as I am sure it has been for many proud Canes.

"But these are not times for pity and reflection. All of my efforts and energy are committed to ensuring the integrity of the NCAA investigation, demanding the full cooperation of our employees and student-athletes and providing unwavering support to our more than 400 plus student-athletes and more than 150 coaches and staff. Along with our passionate and devoted supporters, they are the true essence of Miami athletics.

"There are tough times ahead, challenges to overcome and serious decisions to be made, but we will be left standing and we will be stronger as a result. I understand there are unanswered questions, concerns and frustration by many, but this athletic department will be defined now and in the future, by our core values, our integrity and our commitment to excellence, and by nothing else. The University of Miami, as an institution of higher learning, is a leader in exploration, achievement and excellence and we will work hard to do our part to live up to that standard.

"In my introductory press conference back in April, I asked the community for their unconditional support in our efforts to achieve the goal of excellence. Now, the community, the coaches, the student-athletes and the university have my unconditional support as we move towards a better day. And there will be a better day."