Big Ten Presidents

Mama don't let your sons grow up to be football coaches. Too risky. Might get fired. Nurture them to be presidents of Big Ten universities. They can stay in one place forever. Oops, maybe not.

Big changes in the Big Ten

And I'm not talking about basketball coaches being fired or Joe Paterno finally retiring as Penn State's football coach.

I'm talking about presidents.

Big Ten university presidents, that is.

The news around here in recent days has been that Mary Sue Coleman resigned as Iowa's president so she could take the job at Michigan.

Then there was Mark Yudof quitting as Minnesota's president to become chancellor of the University of Texas system.

Ohio State is also searching for a president.

Doesn't anybody want to stay put?

Let's look at Coleman first.

The fact that she's leaving Iowa for another school in the Big Ten certainly didn't bring the heated reaction from people in this state that would be produced if one of the Hawkeyes' head football or basketball coaches left to lead the Wolverines.

When Forest Evashevski was taking Iowa to Rose Bowls in the 1950s, the big fear sweeping through the state was that he'd pull up stakes and decide to coach at Michigan, his alma mater.

However, that was something he never did.

As Coleman, 58, prepares to head to Michigan, she walks away from Iowa with favorable reviews.

At least in the athletic arena. "In general, she has been good for the Iowa athletic program and has been a strong supporter of the Hawkeyes,'' says a man close to the scene.

"She has been very visible at games and events, and not just football and basketball. She likes to wear black and gold, and obviously enjoyed seeing the Hawkeyes succeed.

"She gave athletic director Bob Bowlsby a big bump in salary, then made him director of both the men's and women's programs when they were combined following Christine Grant's retirement. Coleman's departure probably makes him nervous.''

However, Coleman didn't approve of everything Bowlsby wanted to do.

"She put her foot down when Bowlsby wanted to fire Tom Davis as Iowa's basketball coach before his contract expired, which indicates she has a sense of fair play,'' my source pointed out. "I gave her a gold star for that one.''

Coleman, who has been at Iowa for seven years and had a salary of $275,000, will receive at least $150,000 more than Lee Bollinger, the man she's replacing at Michigan.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that her annual salary of $475,000 at Michigan doesn't include $75,000 in deferred compensation and a one-time bonus of $500,000 for staying five years.

The paper says her $475,000 salary ranks No. 1 among women's CEO salaries at public universities. The top women's salary at private universities--$698,325—belongs to Judith Rodin of the University of Pennsylvania.

No wonder one of my doctors made an interesting comment the other day after I'd had my appointment with him.

He was talking about one of his grandsons, who didn't seem interested in sports.

"Well, then he can become a doctor,'' I said.

"I think he should become a university president,'' he said.

Why not? Just think, one of these days the presidents may start closing the salary gap that exists between them and their football coaches.

On second thought, that'll never happen.

Yudof was making $350,000 at Minnesota, and will be paid more than $600,000 by the Texas system,

Not bad, huh?

At Minnesota, he was liked by some, not liked by others. Don't bet that the Gophers' golf team, which just won the NCAA championship—that's right, the golf team—will be holding any farewell parties for him.

In April, Yudof said that men's and women's golf and men's gymnastics would be discontinued at the school because of increased deficits in the athletic department.

Now players, parents and other boosters are trying to save the sports with financial contributions. The Save Gophers Sports Committee thinks it has a chance to rescue all of the sports Yudof wanted to end.

Are you paying attention, Iowa State?

Actually, the 2001-2002 school year was an outstanding one for Minnesota's sports teams. The men's golf, men's hockey and wrestling teams all won NCAA titles.

J Robinson, the former Iowa assistant who coached the Gophers to the national wrestling title, was one of Yudof's biggest critics.

With Yudof as president, Robinson told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that there was an "air of mistrust'' between the university's central administration and the athletic department.

There aren't many athletic directors who'd want to accept the job at Minnesota without knowing who their boss—the president—is going to be.

Ready to Dump Don Baylor? Take a Number

If the Chicago Cubs are—as usual—ruining your summer, plug into a couple of websites and you'll find you have a lot of company.

One is www.firedonbaylor.com

Another is www.firebaylor.com

Obviously, the heat is on Don Baylor, the latest leader of one of baseball's sorriest teams.

Not only is he managing an emotionless bunch of players, it sometimes looks on TV like the trainer had to prop him up in a corner of the dugout so it would like there actually is someone in charge.

Like so many other managers and coaches who don't seem to have a clue when the end is getting close, Baylor appears ready for the inevitable.

The end could come at any time.

[Ron Maly has no interest in being either the new athletic director at Minnesota or the manager of the Chicago Cubs. President at the University of Iowa? Now you're talking. The way salaries are pushing upward in that business, put me on the short list of candidates or e-mail me at malyr@juno.com ]


Hawkeye Insider Top Stories