Ones to Watch: A.D.

Pete Boone will step down as athletics director no later than December of 2012. Who might Ole Miss target as a successor? We take a look.


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NOTE: A search committee has been formed to find replacements for both Houston Nutt, as well as athletics director Pete Boone. Former Ole Miss and NFL player Archie Manning is among those heading the search committee. The names below have been bandied about for months and the list is fluid and subject to change as the search goes on.



David Blackburn

CURRENT POSITION: Senior Associate Athletics Director, Tennessee

RESUME: Blackburn, a 20-year veteran within the Tennessee athletic department, has served in many capacities during his tenure, including assistant recruiting coordinator, director of recruiting compliance for all men's teams, director of football operations, assistant athletic director for development, and associate athletic director for football.

Blackburn has direct oversight of the football department, serving as the football sport administrator. In addition, he has also served as the sport administrator for both track and field and swimming and diving.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: A veteran of the Tennessee athletics department, Blackburn knows the SEC, has worked closely with football and has direct oversight of that sport. He's served several capacities within the department, which is experience an A.D. would need.


Rick George

CURRENT POSITION: Chief Operating Officer, Texas Rangers

RESUME: George, who has spent nearly 25 years as a sports executive on the professional and collegiate level, was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the Texas Rangers in October 2010. George, who joined the Rangers after a seven-year stint with the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour, works closely with CEO and President Nolan Ryan and members of the club's business operations team.

George served as Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations for the PGA TOUR from June 2008 until joining the Rangers. He was responsible for the oversight of all aspects of the PGA TOUR, including, Player Relations, Competitions, the Rules Committee, and Tournament Business Affairs. In that role, he worked closely with the tournaments and TOUR staff assisting in obtaining and renewing title sponsorships and working with the Tournament Business Affairs team to help tournaments with revenue generating opportunities.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: George is the latest addition to the list. His work at both the collegiate and professional levels is certainly impressive, and his business background is a much-needed characteristic for any potential A.D.


Mike Hill

CURRENT POSITION: Senior Associate Athletics Director, External Affairs, Florida

RESUME: Hill oversees marketing/promotional efforts for all 21 sports at Florida, including direct supervision of football and men's basketball. Negotiates multi-media rights agreements, serves as primary liaison with a variety of television rights holders, responsible for the development and implementation of corporate sponsorship programs and supervises the ticket office.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: For nearly 20 years Hill has been with one of the most successful overall sports programs in the country. Marketing and promoting appear to be his forte' and his involvement to some degree in all areas of UF sports, with direct supervision of football and men's basketball, is a plus.


Charlie Hussey

CURRENT POSITION: Director of Marketing and Licensing, Southeastern Conference

RESUME: Charlie Hussey has been a full-time member of the Southeastern Conference staff since 2000. A 1999 graduate of Ole Miss (B.B.A.) and 2003 graduate of the University of Alabama-Birmingham (M.B.A.), Hussey is currently serving as the Director for Marketing and Licensing in the SEC office.

In his current role, Hussey serves as the primary contact for the SEC Digital Network, SEC Corporate Sponsorship Program, and works closely on the conference's television packages with CBS and ESPN. In addition he develops and implements marketing and branding initiatives for the league, as well as oversees all matters relating to the conference's licensing program.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: Hussey, an Oxford native and Ole Miss graduate, has been with the SEC office for more than a decade, working in several capacities, now as Assistant Commissioner for Marketing and Licensing. He's worked closely with Commissioner Mike Slive and gives Ole Miss great credibility throughout the SEC and in the SEC office.


Walker Jones

CURRENT POSITION: Director of Sports Marketing, Under Armour

RESUME: Jones, a linebacker for the Rebs from ‘96-'99, is the Director of Sports Marketing of Under Armour. A four-year starter and a team captain for the Rebels, he served as Ole Miss' Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Affairs until 2008.

He then moved to TeleSouth, the company that owns the multimedia marketing rights for Ole Miss sports, to become their Vice President and Executive Director of Sports Marketing.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: As marketing manager for UnderArmour, the former Ole Miss football player and athletics department staffer has become one of the company's high-profile staff members. The Jackson native's contacts nationwide are invaluable.


Steve Orsini

CURRENT POSITION: Director of Athletics, SMU

RESUME: Orsini hired June Jones in 2008, and SMU snapped a 25-year bowl drough in 2009, culminating in a win in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Championship. SMU finished the season 8-5, making the largest turnaround in the nation in 2009. SMU SMU earned its second-straight bowl berth a year later, winning a C-USA Western Division Championship and playing in its first C-USA Championship Game.

Orsini is also noted for hiring 2001 Associated Press National Coach of the Year Matt Doherty to lead the Mustang men's basketball program. Doherty's impact was felt in 2010-11, as the SMU men's basketball program recorded its first 20-win season and first postseason bid since 1999-2000, finishing 20-15.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: The current SMU athletics director has the Mustangs' overall program headed up. With the hire of June Jones as coach, SMU has reached levels in football not seen since the death penalty days of the 1980s. Orisni was a football team captain for Notre Dame in 1977 when the Irish lost to Ole Miss.


Brad Teague

CURRENT POSITION: Director of Athletics, Central Arkansas

RESUME:Teague assumed the position as Director of Athletics during the school's second year of the four-year reclassification process and guided the program to full D-I status while overseeing numerous facility upgrades, strengthening fundraising efforts, and ensuring a smooth transition academically under the more stringent standards of Division I athletics.

Under Teague's guidance, Central Arkansas went through the transition period without incurring any Academic Progress Rate (APR) penalties, and upcoming projects include a 7,500-square foot strength and conditioning center and skyboxes, and nearly 13 million dollars worth of upgrades will have occurred since 2009.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: The current Central Arkansas A.D. and former Delta State A.D. has been on an upward path since before he was an Assistant A.D. at Ole Miss and headed up the Loyalty (current UMAA) Foundation. He's a native of Jackson with many Mississippi ties and a knowledge of the people here.


Sean Tuohy

CURRENT POSITION: Entrepreneur

RESUME: As a player, Tuohy led Ole Miss to its first and only SEC Men's Basketball Tournament championship in 1981, and was named All-SEC in each of his four seasons. He was named to the All-Century SEC team, and is only the fourth basketball player ever chosen to the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame.

Tuohy and his wife own over 85 fast food franchise restaurants, including Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Tuohy is also in his ninth season as a broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. He has seven years of experience as an analyst for radio broadcasts at Ole Miss, as well as national broadcasts for Westwood One and CBS Radio.

SPIRIT'S TAKE: A successful Mid-South businessman, Tuohy has remained involved in sports and also close to Ole Miss as his children attended the University. He brings a lot of recognition to the situation through the Blind Side book and movie and also his skills in the business community.


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