A.D. Search: Connecting the Dots

With Parker Executive Search being hired to formulate the initial list of candidates, one way to try and find possibilities is to search for candidates who have been recommended by the Atlanta-based search firm in the past.

With Parker Executive Search being hired to formulate the initial list of candidates, one way to try and find possibilities is to search for candidates who have been recommended by the Atlanta-based search firm in the past.

An interesting name passed on to us yesterday who actually has been recommended for another job by Parker Executive Search is Alabama Executive Director of Athletics Dave Hart Jr. Hart has a wealth of experience under his belt, as he was East Carolina's AD for eight years before spending 12 at Florida State as athletic director.

While at Florida State Hart made the Seminoles relevant in all sports. Known primarily for its football success, FSU finished in the top 20 in the Director's Cup standings in Hart's last three years at the school (including two top-15 finishes). With Hart at FSU the department's budget more than doubled, as did the revenues, greatly due to the increased support he provided for non-revenue sports.

Hart resigned late in 2007 after a disagreement with the University President. He was quickly hired by Alabama in 2008 as the Executive Director of Athletics, and in 2009 he became the department's chief operating officer in charge of the daily operations of the athletics department. Hart is essentially the No. 2 guy behind Alabama AD Mal Moore.

How is he connected to Parker Executive Search? Hart was one of the final candidates recommended to LSU by the search firm when they assisted the Tigers in 2008. Hart is also on the sitting faculty of the Division IA AD Institute. The faculty was formulated to mentor rising athletic directors or those administrators looking to become athletic directors. Who else is on the sitting faculty? Dan Parker.

Also, it's worth pointing out that Hart has family living in Raleigh and his nephew, Chris, is an assistant coach on the Wolfpack's baseball team.

With previous ties to the ACC, Hart is an intriguing name that's being tossed around. Yesterday evening we spoke with a source who dealt with Hart while he was at East Carolina, and he indicated that Hart was one of the candidates submitted by the search firm, but he was unsure as to if Hart is one of the finalists or not.

Miller Won't Comment
Jim Miller has done a very good job during his time as athletics director at the University of Richmond.

Under Miller's watch Richmond has moved from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10 Conference. During his time there has been facility upgrades in the all the major sports, including an on-campus football facility that opens this year, and improvements across the board.

Perhaps the most impressive moves made under Miller have been the coaching hires in the revenue sports: football and men's basketball. The first major hire he had to make was when John Beilein left the school to take over at West Virginia. Miller landed Jerry Wainwright from UNC-Wilmington who went 50-42 in three seasons and had two postseason appearances. Miller next hired Chris Mooney, the head coach at Air Force, when Wainwright was hired away by DePaul, and after two years of implementing his system Mooney has played in three straight postseason appearances. Richmond's wins increased from 16 in 2008 to 20 in 2009 to 26 this past season with the Spiders advancing into the NCAA Tournament. Richmond basketball has had seven postseason appearances in the 10 seasons Miller has served as AD.

Jim Miller

His hires have been just as impressive in football. Looking to make a change in 2004 when Jim Reid resigned, Miller went out and hired Dave Clawson from Fordham University. Clawson's first season was rough as the Spiders finished 3-8, but he was 26-12 over his final three seasons at the school, which included an 11-3 mark and a FCS Semifinals appearance in 2007. Clawson left to take over as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, and Miller lured Mike London away from Virginia's defensive staff. All London did was go 24-5 in two seasons at the school, including the FCS Championship in 2008.

In Miller's first five years at Richmond, the Spiders earned 27 NCAA appearances and won 20 conference titles... as many titles as the school had won during the previous 20 years.

Miller took over at Richmond after serving as executive associate director of athletics at NC State. He started with the Wolfpack in 1990 as a compliance officer, and in 1999 he became responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of the athletics department when AD Les Robinson took over for fundraising and promotion.

Given Miller's success and ties to the school, it's safe to say he should be considered for the job and would likely be interested. Pack Pride exchanged emails with Miller who wouldn't confirm or deny where he stands in the search. When asked if he had been contacted regarding the job, Miller's emailed response was extremely vague.

"James... Unfortunately, I am going to have to give you the same response that I give our beat reporter here in Richmond... "I do not publicly discuss personnel matters, including my own."

O'Brien Not A Candidate
One name passed on to us earlier in the week was Toledo AD Michael O'Brien.

Since O'Brien took over in 2002, the Rockets have won or shared MAC titles in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's cross country, men's golf and women's soccer. In that same span, UT has made three bowl appearances in football and two NIT appearances in men's basketball. In addition, women's soccer advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2008, while men's golf competed in the NCAA Championships in 2002 and 2004. UT women have qualified for the NCAA Championships in either track or cross country a total of 10 times and made All-America six times since 2002.

In the classroom, Toledo has produced overall department grade-point averages of above a 3.0 in six of the last eight semesters. In the 2009 spring semester, Toledo student-athletes achieved a combined GPA of 3.159, the highest in school history. More than one-third of student-athletes received at least a 3.5 GPA, with more than half earning a 3.0+ GPA, the 11th consecutive semester above the 50 percent mark.

As we did with Greg Christopher (Bowling Green State Univ.) and Jim Miller (Richmond), we checked with O'Brien directly who informed us that he has had no contact regarding the job.

"I have not been contacted whatsoever by Parker Executive Search or anyone at NC State," said O'Brien. "I wish them well."

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