After reviewing the candidates, Brigham Young University President Cecil Samuelson and Vice President for Advancement Fred Skousen came to the conclusion that Tom Holmoe was the right man for the job and he was already at BYU.
Standing at the podium in the Cougar Room at LaVell Edwards Stadium an excited Holmoe said, "This is quite the honor to be named athletic director of BYU."
It may have taken awhile, but the process at BYU isn't something that can always be compared to other institutions or universities, and for good reason: BYU is no ordinary university. It has much more at stake than just the reputation of the learning institution. Things may take a bit longer, but BYU fans can rest assured that the process was tedious and thorough. Every rock was uncovered and every angle examined.
President Cecil Samuelson said, "I have a background in medicine and was a diagnostician and I'm not one to rush to judgment. There were some things I wanted to learn about the university, about the athletic department and about the people in the athletic department and to cast our nets as widely as we could."
The move marks the consolidation of both the men's and women's athletic departments. President Samuelson stated that Holmoe has been entrusted with the stewardship of BYU athletics, and he will be held accountable for the progress of the unified departments.
"I will tell you that Tom will be responsible for everything in the athletic department," said Samuelson. "Everyone at BYU, and I suppose that it is true at every university, wants to report directly to the president, and that doesn't happen and it won't happen.
"Fred Skousen is our managing vice president and the athletic director will report through Fred and through me and then to the board of trustees and others. Tom Holmoe is the chief executive officer of the athletic department and therefore he will have both the authority and the responsibility to do what he needs to do. He will be expected, like all other team leaders in the university and the organizations, to keep us informed as to what he is doing in certain matters."
For some time BYU fans have felt in past years that BYU's athletic directors had reserved the roll of "yes men" to those in upper university management. Some have said that former Athletic Director Rhondo Feldberg was released for being "to aggressive" or "rocking the establishment" in an effort to be progressive. Others felt that former A.D. Val Hale was hired in an attempt to calm the aggressive approach. Ironically, this may have contributed to his release last year. What ever the case may be, President Samuelson wanted to make certain the public knows who the BYU Athletic Director is.
"Let me be very clear," Samuelson said. "I do not want to be the Athletic Director. I'm not qualified to be the Athletic Director. I've got enough things that I'm doing and I think Vice President Skousen has enough things that he's doing that he doesn't desire to be the Athletic Director."
Although not a single football game has been played, Holmoe has started off on the right foot by hiring Bronco Mendenhall as the head coach of BYU. As the new A.D., Holmoe expects to go forward with confidence as he steers BYU's sports programs.
"For me as a coach to remove a coach (Crowton) that was just torturous for me," Holmoe said. "But you know it had to be done and I hate that. I'm going to do what ever it takes and if it takes passion and those guys have to bridle me a little bit, so be it."
Head Coach Mendenhall is confident in Holmoe and his abilities to lead BYU's sports back to their winning traditions. He feels both his staff and the A.D. can meet the challenge of bringing BYU back to football prominence.
"We'll either grow or decay," Mendenhall said. "I think you've seen a football program in terms of the head coach with that intent [growth]. I think the athletic program in general has changed to a leader with the expectation of greatness. Now our credibility and the credibility of these decisions will be based on what we do and we know what the expectations are and we look forward to meeting them."
Mendenhall's vision is to restore BYU's football program to its previous status. It's a vision he's outlined to Cougar Club members and media alike. Holmoe also considers himself a visionary and a "builder" and views Mendenhall as a "brother in arms." Their fates are now firmly entwined.
"I can learn a few things from Bronco," Holmoe said. "I know that Bronco and I are in this thing together now more than others and I love all the coaches. It's no secret that football success is big, so we're in this together and we have to work together and knock heads and we have. We're just going to put our differences aside and go forward because we have the same goal in mind. We're going to have some great times."