Oklahoma State has had about a month of rumors and serving as the subject of sports columns, but it is time to welcome a familiar face that brings home experience that can really benefit Oklahoma State athletics regardless of what his title is.
I got a call from a friend that told an interesting story. It seems a friend of his was in Tulsa on Thursday night and an individual claiming to be a member of the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents stopped him and told him that the new Deputy Director of Athletics announced earlier in the day, Chad Weiberg, was actually going to be the athletic director in the somewhat immediate future. Now, that isn't earth shattering news. It's not even new news. I can tell you this, Weiberg is a solid, even settling addition to Oklahoma State athletics.
Following the unsuccessful negotiations and the very immediate departure of head basketball coach Brad Underwood there was rumored dissatisfaction with athletic director Mike Holder. Sports columnists in the state wrote about it in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City, even told the story of an athletic director in waiting scenario. Not saying there weren't unhappy people, unhappy powerful people after the abrupt loss of Underwood, because my sources said there were.
However, I also believe that the unhappiness has subsided since. Besides, the job Weiberg is taking is that of retired Deputy Director of Athletics Dave Martin. Mike Holder made the hire, so is it possible that he would be tasked, knowing or unknowing, to hire his successor? I don't think so. Holder has a lot of power in that he has accomplished a bushel. Holder is really just the completion of funding the baseball stadium project away from virtually completing all the plans and financing of the promised athletic village when he took over as athletic director. There have been backward and side steps in the process, but the overall direction of Oklahoma State athletics has been forward.
The major complaints you hear now from both inside and outside the athletic department is it would have been nice to keep Underwood and the positive vibe building with basketball. There will be some healing needed in order to get the ticket buying Cowboy fans back on board with rookie head coach Mike Boynton. Underwood had entrenched himself with OSU fans. Now, most of them would want nothing to do with him now, wrong shade of orange at Illinois, but they are in a major wait and see mode with Boynton. The other complaint you hear is why can't Holder and the chief architect of the football program in Mike Gundy get along. Some blame Gundy, but most blame Holder. The word is that they are getting along better. The line of communication has opened up and there is talk of progress with Gundy's list of priorities in assistant coach and support staff salaries, more in the recruiting budget, signage in the stadium and the indoor practice facility, and a boost in Gundy's salary to get him back to a more appropriate level in the Big 12. One athletic department employee was quoted that Holder and Gundy hugged. Not sure, but it makes for an interesting story.
Back to Weiberg, who claims he is grateful to Holder and is excited about being the new Deputy Athletic Director, the number two person in the athletic administration. This is a guy that remembers developing his loyalty to Oklahoma State and all that is important to Cowboys fans at an early age.
"I remember sitting on the floor in my dad's office (Mick Weiberg) when he was an assistant basketball coach," Weiberg said after accepting the job. "I was on the floor polishing a cup that was one of the basketball national championship trophies."
The Weibergs are very devoted to Oklahoma State and Jared is forever remembered as one of the 10 members of the Oklahoma State and Cowboy basketball family that lost his life in the plane crash. Now his brother, a double graduate from Oklahoma State and the illustrious Spears School of Business is about to become the second highest administrator in OSU athletics. To hear Chad talk about the job is to know that this is not just a good, but a great hire for a department that needs some positive karma in the area of relationships.
"I'm going to come in an listen and learn," Weiberg said. "I need to get to know the people and get to know Oklahoma State and the athletic department again. I have seen all that has been accomplished because I never strayed from the Big 12, so it has been easy to follow. Now I need to learn all about it again, about the people because the people are what is important."
This guy gets it. Put the emphasis on people and you will never go wrong. Listen as much, if not more than you talk, and you will become much more intelligent. Weiberg has been around some outstanding people. You can look at the football building and the Bill Snyder Family Stadium at Kansas State and know that he has accomplished a lot in raising much more money that had ever been raised at K-State. He has dealt with and made happy Bill Snyder. Take note of that Mike Gundy. This is an athletic administrator that gets the football and it's role and it's needs.
The fund raising aspect of the job was mastered in Manhattan, but the day-to-day logistics became clear in Lubbock at Texas Tech where also as deputy athletics director Chad Weiberg was thrust into lots of organizational and operations due to Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt serving as the chairperson of the College Football Playoff Committee. That took up a lot of time.
“My time in Lubbock and at Texas Tech have been both personally and professionally fulfilling and rewarding. I can't thank enough Kirby Hocutt, President Schovanec, and all of the coaches and staff for the incredible opportunity for me and my family to be part of Texas Tech Athletics,” Weiberg said. “I know that great things are ahead for the Red Raiders and I look forward to watching the continued success."
So whether Weiberg is the new deputy or someday going to be the sheriff, right now that doesn't matter. What matters is that OKlahoma State added a new influence coming from the outside that given the opportunity could have a soothing, new viewpoint on how to get everybody pushing the same direction and happy about the role and the results. New blood with an old attachment to what Oklahoma State athletics is trying to accomplish in continuing to build, make student-athletes the focus, and give them, the coaches, and the fans the opportunity to work together support each other and the cause and win championships.