Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Editorial Time - Head or Heart?

Ok, I tried not to weigh in on this AD search too much. However, I have to give my two cents. We have a real spread of opinion about Bill Curry. The most general way to characterize this is that the older and more influential alumni want Bill Curry to have the job...... Period......... The vast majority of them are pressuring the administration for a "Tech man". Sorry, but I don't buy it. Dan Radakovich came a bit out of left field, but his qualifications for the job are CLEARLY superior to Bill Curry's. How can anyone possibly dispute that fact?

Do I have a problem with the fact that Bill Curry left Tech to coach at Alabama? No way, and you shouldn't either. That is not a good reason for him to lose this job. Does it bother me that people call him a Tech man but he hasn't been to Bobby Dodd Stadium but once or twice in the past 20 years? Well, a little, but not a lot....................However, there are some good reasons he shouldn't have it. First, he does not have the qualifications and experience to be a major college athletic director. If raising money and having great sound bites on television were the top requirements then maybe he's our guy. In my opinion, AD's are better neither seen nor heard when it comes to the media. So why are people so googly-eyed over Bill Curry's ability to talk good on TV? Curry just doesn't have the administrative experience to take care of the behind the scenes work of an AD. Just my opinion. Do you want a guy learning this side of things in the twighlight of his years? I just don't see it.

Ask yourself this question. If there was another candidate with the exact IDENTICAL qualifications as Bill Curry - with one difference - he went to school somewhere else - would you hire him? Would you hire a former player turned football head coach with a ok track-record, that bounced around to different schools, then decided to be a broadcaster? Would you do it if he was an Auburn grad? or an Oklahoma grad? Is being a "Tech man" so important to you that qualifications take a backseat?

Believe me, I understand that Bill Curry is a great embassador for Georgia Tech. I have no doubt what colors he bleeds. No doubt he's a Tech man to the core. Having said that I just don't think he's the best candidate for the job between these two.

Dan Radakovich has the experience and the credentials for the administrative side of the job. He's practically the AD at LSU now, overseeing football, basketball and baseball, including a national championship football team. He has been involved in all aspects of the AD job there, including hires, personnel issues, facilities upgrades, etc. He has a degree in finance and an MBA. He played football also (at Indiana U). He's the "young up-and-comer"............. Here is an interesting article where a UGAg sports business class actually did a project to identify who they thought should be the next AD at Auburn. Who did they pick? Try Radakovich. Pretty interesting. Of course it is from a bunch of mutts, so take it with a grain of salt.

So, I said my peace. Truthfully, there are pro's and con's on both sides. Is Radakovich going to focus on winning or be President Clough's "yes man". That worries some people. Does he truly understand the challenge that comes with succeeding at Georgia Tech and the unique acadmic / athletic balance? How can we be sure?...............Does Curry have the superior ability to raise money from alumni? If he has the older generations in his pocket, then the purse strings might open more for him. Is Curry going to know what to do to ensure that "flunkgate" and the other issues that have plagued the school won't happen again? Having said that, don't forget that LSU is battling lawsuits from those professors who were asked to change grades a number of years ago to keep players eligible. Remember that? The result was that a bunch of players played in the Peach Bowl a few years back and beat a certain Georgia Tech football team, when they should have been disqualified. Remember that? Now, Radakovich may have had nothing to do with that, but LSU hasn't had a perfect track record either............... Will Curry truly unite the fanbase split that has occurred the past few years? Folks, I'm sorry, but there is only one thing that unites a fanbase - run a clean program and win. Period. If we don't win and clean up our recent "messes", neither of these guys will unite anything...................... There are just a lot of questions that I'm not sure have easy answers.

Bottom-line....... You have a young but experienced candidate for the job skills required and you have an older, less experienced candidate as the sentimenal favorite because he's an alumni. Truthfully, I don't think we can go too wrong either way............... on one condition. If Bill Curry gets hired, we better darn well have an experienced administrator as his right-hand man. I don't know anyone in the current admin, but let's face it - we have had more problems the last 4 years than anyone wants to bring up, so they aren't getting it done. If Curry just takes over the current admin group, then I'm going to have that nagging feeling in the back of my head - is something happening right now that's going to screw up our chances 5 years from now. I have that feeling now. I want it to disappear.

In a one-on-one choice, winner take all, I give the nod to Radakovich. If Curry has a good "right-hand man", then I can buy into his choice as well. Stay tuned - should be interesting.............

One last note - hiring Radakovich will take MAJOR courage by Clough. I'm sorry, but I'm sick of hearing about "influential older alumni". I know money talks, but the safe move by our President would be to hire the guy that all the "big money" wants. If Curry fails, he can throw it right back in their face and tell them to shut up and let him do his job now. If he steps out and hires Radakovich, Clough is going to eat dirt publicly if he doesn't work out. I have a strong feeling Clough wants Radakovich, so we'll see what happens................It is also important to note that not all older alumni like or want Bill Curry. That is certainly a generalization, although it is certainly a vast majority.

Ok, I lied - one last note. This decision is a heart / head thing. Almost any Georgia Tech fan or alumni deep in his heart likes Curry as the choice. But any sane person using their head can see that Radakovich is a better choice. So what's better - heart or head? I say go with the head, but what do I know.