AD Decision should come in June

Now that there is a new university president on board at Washington, they should have a new athletic director also named in the very near future. One would assume they would have the AD working and at least meeting everyone this summer, setting the stage for a restructure of the whole program. Things will definitely change as they already have under interim Athletic Director Dick Thompson. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we will begin to see it come August and September.

Fall technically starts the year off in the world of education, and a couple of sports in particular have always been critical to the perceived success of Washington athletics.

Football and crew have been the two benchmark programs at Montlake for many, many decades. I am positive the new president is a football supporter and more than just mildly interested in the success of the athletic department as a whole.

Coming from Tacoma, he had to have been a Husky fan growing up. His last school, LSU, not only won the national football championship this past year but is also a top-ten school in just about every other sport - including both men's and women's basketball. They definitely have had flagship programs in football, basketball, and baseball.

There has been lots of speculation about who the next athletic director will be and there is no question that two or three guys with Washington ties and solid football understanding were among the choices. Who has made the cut on the search committee's list is still a big mystery, as well as it should be.

The kind of people you want for this job are probably already working for someone else. It is better to do your search in private. When the list is pared down, let the new president make the decision.

With regard to restoring the reputation and integrity of the school as context for this hire, you can bet the new president already has an idea of who he wants to choose. Clearly there is a lot riding on the first major decision of his presidency.

I believe it is his decision and it should be his guy, end of discussion! I'm not saying anything negative about the committee, as a number of them are my friends. I'm just saying that the president and new athletic director will have to be on the same page and will be in contact almost daily.

What are the obvious qualifications for this job? Experience in the field (hopefully someone who is or has been an athletic director at this level), football or basketball background, an understanding of the NCAA rule book (or at least have some experience therein), business sense and general overall leadership skills.

If he happened to already have a solid reputation in the field and is a big picture guy, then that would help as well. Don't be surprised if they pick a big-name guy and throw half a million dollars at him. Raiding someone else's school isn't new, especially considering how the university lured the new president home.

One of the most obvious choices was Bob Stull, currently the athletic director at Texas El-Paso and an ex-Husky offensive line coach. Unfortunately, he just took himself out of consideration for the job.

The sad thing is, Bob knows the game. Bob knows how to make things happen. He is totally into being an athletic director. It's what he always wanted to be. He comes out of the Don James-school of thinking and he and his wife Kim loved Seattle. He would have made an excellent choice.

It was when he was the Director of the King County Boys and Girls Club that I really saw his commitment to kids. He did marvelous things in his short tenure with them. Bob was an obvious choice and would have done a great job rebuilding the program. He had the organizational skills and would have gotten things done.

At UTEP, he immediately funded and built a multi-million dollar athletic center for football and basketball, new turf for the Sun Bowl (they had the same one as when Bob coached there in 1979), state of the art video scoreboards for both football and basketball and remodeled all of their existing athletic facilities.

Personally, I think it was his hiring of Mike Price that showed what a really good candidate Bob was. Anybody in the profession knew Mike Price was a good sports educator. He does good things with kids and is well-respected as a coach and human being. Mike Price is good people and Stull stuck his neck out and gave him a second chance despite the turmoil surrounding the events that led to his firing at Alabama. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.

If Keith Gilbertson is to be successful at Washington, he will need the man in the corner office of Graves Annex to be on his side. He would have had that with Stull. He has a previous work history with Bob, as they both coached under James. They are both offensive line coaches and are probably the nicest men in football. It would have been a solid working relationship and Stull would have known what was going on everywhere, but especially with the football program.

Besides Gilbs, Bob also knew most of the key alumni already from his stint as the assistant athletic director for fund development at Washington. He was already connected. This seemed like a great fit, but then what do I know?

Logic to me is not to others. My wife will tell you that much.

Another name mentioned in the committee's search was current Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos. He too just took himself out of the running for the job.

I know Bill because we are both ex-Cougars and we crossed paths as I was leaving Washington State and he was coming. He too was an excellent candidate and knows the priority of football and basketball. He has literally put the Ducks on the national map.

Long known as just a competitive track school, Oregon is now competitive in the revenue producing sports of football and basketball, and really started the facilities war within the Pac-10.

Moos created quite a stir amongst Duck fans by showing casual interest in the Washington AD job but already has Oregon going full-speed. For that, I understand why he withdrew his name from consideration.

I know that the search committee did consider hiring another woman and looked hard at an assistant AD at Stanford. Still, I feel they may be zeroing on something bigger and intend to hire someone with a significant resume.

The name of Chris Hill, the athletic director at Utah, keeps coming up and certainly it would be a step up for him to move to Washington. Hill has the background and would make an excellent choice now that Stull and Moos are now longer involved.

Pete Liske comes to mind as someone else with Washington ties and the professional background that would qualify him for the position. Pete has been an athletic director at a couple of different places and really understands the big picture.

I worked with Pete Liske and Bob Stull during my tenure at Washington and really think both are more than qualified because they both already know the key donors and contributors. Both really understand the sport of football and its tremendous earning potential. Both would immediately begin the plan to push Husky Stadium for expansion to 80,000 seats and beyond.

Why not have the biggest football stadium in the conference, then fill it and attract the biggest and best recruits? It all goes back to recruiting and believe me, whoever the incoming athletic director is, he will certainly understand the recruiting process.

Recruiting is the future! It is also the area of most violations and NCAA hassles. Whoever Washington hires, I would have been happy with it yesterday.

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