Cincinnati hires Whit Babcock as AD

Updated: October 22, 2011, 12:34 PM ET
By Andrea Adelson | ESPN.com

Cincinnati hired Whit Babcock as its new athletic director, the school announced Saturday.

Babcock comes to the Bearcats from Missouri, where he served as executive associate athletic director. He replaces Mike Thomas, who left to become athletic director at Illinois.

Babcock's main emphasis at Missouri, and previously at West Virginia, has been on fundraising, which also will be a key function in his new job.

But because of all of the uncertainty surrounding the Big East, securing Cincinnati's future likely becomes his priority.

In a phone interview Saturday morning, Babcock said it was premature for him to discuss what was happening in the league because he has not been involved in any of the discussions. He expressed faith and confidence in the leadership of school president Greg Williams to put the Bearcats in the best possible situation to succeed.

"I feel like Cincinnati has a tremendous amount to offer," Babcock said. "One thing I've learned is not to hang on every media word and every tweet. It's such a fluid situation, but Cincinnati has a lot to offer and I look forward to working with President Williams on that."

Perhaps one of his biggest selling points was his ability to raise money. After arriving at Missouri in 2007, the school reached record highs in fundraising, season-ticket sales, and revenue generation throughout the department.

He also has a solid relationship with football coach Butch Jones. The two worked together at West Virginia, when Jones was a receivers coach in 2005 and 2006 and Babcock was assistant athletic director and executive director of development.

They briefly spoke on the phone Friday night after Babcock was hired.

"It was pretty apparent early on that he was a really talented coach not only from an Xs and Os standpoint but from a recruiting standpoint, and from a passion standpoint of how he motivates players," Babcock said. "You're starting to see some of the fruits of that labor now. I'm not surprised at the success he's having."

Cincinnati is 5-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big East entering Saturday's game at South Florida.

Andrea Adelson covers the Big East for ESPN.com.

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