DECKER: Who's The Next In Charge?

Bloomington, Ind. – As Indiana University athletics prepares for one of the most critical periods in its history, it has to find a new person to lead the way. HoosierNation.com examines 10 candidates who haven't been discussed, but are worth considering. Some of the names will surprise you...

Bloomington, Ind. – As Indiana University athletics prepares for one of the most critical periods in its history, it has to find a new person to lead the way.

Current Athletic Director Rick Greenspan will step down Dec. 31, 2008, after a four-year run at the head of the department. On his watch, IU made quality coaching hires in a variety of sports and also made significant strides in football field as well as with its facilities. But Greenspan's undoing – and most likely his legacy – will be what's transpired with the men's basketball program during the last two seasons.

So where does Indiana go from here? IU President Michael McRobbie has nearly six months to come up with an answer. It's unclear whether he'll utilize the services of a search committee or a search firm to begin identifying candidates, but it's a safe bet that he'll have plenty ready to offer their two cents on who he should be looking at as potential replacements.

In the spirit of helping the university be frugal, HoosierNation.com has compiled its own list of 10 candidates to consider (in no particular order):

- Brad Bates, Athletic Director, Miami (Ohio) – Bates has overseen the Redhawks' athletic department since 2003, and he's done a good enough job to have recently inked a five-year extension through 2013. IU fans are familiar with Bates since he was in charge of the Miami athletic department when IU lured Terry Hoeppner to town, and Bates spoke in Bloomington at Hoeppner's "Celebration of Life" event last spring. Eleven different Miami (Ohio) programs have won MAC titles during his tenure, his athletes have graduated at an 85 percent clip, and the program's APR scores have been among the nation's best. He played football at Michigan for Bo Schembechler in the late 1970s/early 80s, so Michigan could be his dream job.

- Tom Jurich, Athletic Director, Louisville – The 52-year-old Louisville athletic director has been with the Cardinals since 1997 and has worked wonders at the Big East school. One of his biggest coups was luring Rick Pitino to town to take over the basketball program, and he's also overseen a huge turnaround with the football program, and there have been facility upgrades galore for many of the varsity sports. Jurich was so well received early on in his tenure that he was given a 13-year contract extension after his first two years at the helm of the program. It's questionable whether he'd leave Louisville and the price tag would be high, but if he's at all interested he's well worth approaching.

- Jerry Yeagley, former men's soccer coach, Indiana – If IU is going to get an "Indiana guy" to head the department as many have suggested, there isn't anyone who knows IU any better than Jerry Yeagley. He built the IU soccer program from scratch into the nation's best, winning six national titles in 31 years of varsity competition. He's an IU athletics icon who would also work wonders with donors. He is 67 years old and it's questionable whether he'd have any interest in tackling the assignment, but it's worth finding out.

Steve Downing, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Texas Tech – The idea of this former IU star athlete and administrator isn't as far fetched as some might think. He has Indiana roots, having grown up in Indianapolis before enjoying an All-America basketball career at IU. After playing basketball professionally, he returned to Bloomington and spent 22 years as an assistant athletic director before following Bob Knight to Texas Tech. He was recently a finalist for the Wright State AD's job (which eventually went to an internal candidate), so he's looking for the right opportunity. He also applied for the job in 2004 when Greenspan was hired, so he's obviously not averse to coming back.

Mike Bobinski, Athletic Director, Xavier – Bobinski is in his second stint as Xavier's AD, having first held the position from 1998-2004. He moved over to become an associate university vice president for development in 2004, and he's held both positions for the last two years. Bobinksi hired Thad Matta in 2001 and hired current coach Sean Miller as well. A New York native, he served as the AD at Akron before taking over at Xavier, and he does have some ties to the state since he worked at Notre Dame from 1984-89. Two obstacles could be the fact Xavier doesn't have football, and he has two college-aged children who are enrolled at Xavier (his son, Brian, is a freshman on the baseball team).

Paul Kowalczyk, Athletic Director, Colorado State – Kowalczyk recently completed his second year as the AD at Colorado State after holding the same position for six years at Southern Illinois. During his stint with the Salukis, the men's basketball team won five straight Missouri Valley Conference titles and the football team won three consecutive Gateway (I-AA) championships. During his brief time at Colorado State, he's been a major player in several initiatives that has increased the football teams' attendance. Kowalczyk doesn't have IU ties, but his Midwest roots are strong. He is a native of Warren, Ohio, and also was an administrator at Northwestern before getting the SIU AD's job.

Paul Krebs, Athletic Director, New Mexico – Krebs is another experienced AD with Midwestern roots. A native of Canfield, Ohio, Krebs earned his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green and his Master's from Ohio State. He got his start in athletics administration at Oklahoma in the early 1980s before returning to OSU in 1985 as the Ticket Manager. During his 12 years in Columbus he rose to Senior Associate Athletic Director and was the point man for a handful of huge facility projects, including the construction of the Schottenstein Center as well as the renovations to Ohio Stadium. From there he went to Bowling Green, where he spent seven years as the athletic director and hired Urban Meyer to head the Falcons' program. He left the MAC school to take over at New Mexico in 2007 and made a splash right away when hired Steve Alford as his men's basketball coach.

Bubba Cunningham, Athletic Director, Tulsa – More of a left-field candidate, Cunningham has spent the last three years as the AD of Tulsa after spending the previous three seasons at the helm of the Ball State athletics department. He's another person with strong Midwestern roots, due to his three years in Muncie and the fact he earned his bachelor's and Master's degrees from Notre Dame, and then spent 15 years on Notre Dame's athletics department staff. One thing that could keep this from happening is the fact he is the athletic director who dismissed Bill Lynch back in 2002.

Steve Orsini, Athletic Director, SMU – Orsini has nearly 30 years of experience in athletics administration, including six years as an athletic director. Orsini headed the Central Florida athletics department from 2002-06 before taking over at SMU in June of 2006. During his time at the Texas school he's already turned some heads with his hiring of Matt Doherty to lead the men's basketball program and also with his ability to lure June Jones away from Hawaii to take over the football program. At UCF, his athletics program won the all-league sports award in the Atlantic Sun Conference for three straight seasons, symbolizing the most successful program in the conference. The next year UCF joined Conference USA, and the football team advanced to the conference championship game and earned its first-ever bowl berth. Orsini graduated from Notre Dame in 1978 and was a three-year letter winner in football. He was one of three captains on the 1977 squad which won the national championship.

Sheahon Zenger, Athletic Director, Illinois State – A native of Hays, Kan., Zenger has spent the last four years at the helm of the Illinois State athletic department. The Redbirds' athletic department has enjoyed steady improvement during his stint, culminating in ISU winning the Missouri Valley's all-sports champions – an award the school last won in 2001. A former football staff member at Kansas State, South Florida and Wyoming, Zenger earned his Ph.D. from Kansas in 1996. Before taking over the ISU athletics program he spent three years as an Assistant AD at Kansas State.


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