Husky Football Blog
Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.
June 18, 2008 12:17 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
It's been more than six months since Todd Turner "resigned'' as Washington's athletic director and the school has yet to hire a permanent replacement.
But UW officials insist there is nothing alarming about the seemingly lengthy process to make a hire.
Scott Woodward, the school's VP for external affairs and the acting athletic director, said today that the school has been actively searching for a new AD for only "90 days or 120 days,'' getting particularly serious when Woodward announced in early May he would not pursue the job full-time.
"They are just being very careful to make sure that they get the right person for the job,'' Woodward said, referring to the search committee and UW president Mark Emmert.
Woodward said "nothing has changed'' in terms of his future, so at the moment, he remains on the sidelines of the search. He did say, however, that he would "never say never'' about the possibility that he could get back in the mix for the AD's job if asked to do so by Emmert.
It was Emmert who told Woodward that he thought he was of more value to the school in the external relations job (where he can help lead the charge to lobby the legislature in Olympia for funding for Husky Stadium) rather than becoming the permanent AD.
Reliable information about the search has been scarce as the school is essentially not commenting about anything, other than to acknowledge that the search continues. The school has formed a 14-person search committee, but most assume that the final decision is essentially that of Emmert's.
Sources, however, indicate that UW had serious conversations, if not flat-out offering the job, to two sitting ADs --- Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech and Chris Hill of Utah. One source said talks with Radakovich broke down over money --- he apparently just signed a new contract worth more than $600,000 a year and would need more than that to bother with making a move.
Turner had a base salary of $345,000 with other incoming putting him in the $400-500,000 range, and the Huskies aren't likely to go a whole lot higher as Pac-10 schools simply don't pay as much for ADs as do those in most of the other major conferences --- one reason UW may have a tough time hiring a sitting AD at a major school.
As for as Hill, one source said those talks broke down in part because Hill didn't want to get involved in a lengthy search. He was apparently offered the UW job in 2004 and sounds as if he didn't want to get publicly involved again if there was any chance he wasn't going to get the job. He's been at Utah since 1987 and is not necessarily itching to move.
It's also known that UW talked with USC associate AD Steve Lopes, but that he is no longer a candidate.
There has been speculation that UW may have recently interviewed UTEP AD Bob Stull, who was in town on his way to a vacation in Alaska. It's also known that former Husky kicker Chuck Nelson remains a candidate. Considering that each has lengthy ties to the school, it figures that both would leap at the job if offered. Given that fact, it seems likely that each is more of a fallback candidate.
There have been constant rumblings about former Oregon AD Bill Moos, as well. Moos has a well-chronicled clause in his contract with the Ducks that pays him roughly $180,000 a year for 10 years as long as he doesn't take an AD job at another BCS school. Moos has said several times through his lawyer that he has not been contacted by either UW's search committee, or Parker Executive Search, the firm UW hired to assist in the process. Moos himself has not responded to interview requests. (And interesting to note on the Parker web site that it has just added the Notre Dame AD's job to its list of "current opportunities.'' UW reportedly paid $75,000 to Parker).
While he's technically handling two jobs at once, Woodward has been spending a significant amount of his time in in the athletic department, recently attending the national college athletic directors convention, as well as the Pac-10 AD's meeting.
He said the daily work of the athletic department is not being hindered by the fact that there isn't a permanent AD in place, pointing out that the process of setting the budget for the next fiscal year is being completed, games have been scheduled (the recent LSU series) and contracts for coaches negotiated (including a recent extension for women's crew coach Bob Ernst).
"Everything from my standpoint seems to be going fine,'' Woodward said.
That Woodward is in charge, and obviously has the full confidence of Emmert --- the two have worked together since 1999 --- means the UW president may not feel any undue urgency to fill the position. Still, it seems likely something will break soon on this as UW will want an AD in place by the beginning of a football season that looms particularly pivotal to the future of that program.