Thursday, October 4, 2012
Miami searching for AD stability
By Andrea Adelson
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.