Monday, May 17, 2010

Q&A with Randy Woodson

During the initial meeting of the committee commissioned to search for a new N.C. State athletic director, chancellor Randy Woodson agreed to a short interview with reporters.

He talked about naming Parker Executive Search firm to assist in the process and about some of his expectations for the job. Here are excerpts from Woodson's interview:

Q: I see you’ve hired the Parker search firm. How important was that in terms of prestige?
A: It’s a process by which we solicit proposals and we receive proposals from a number of firms, I think four or five. When you add it all up and ask what’s been their previous experience, Parker has done the most AD searches in the country. They understand this environment. They know athletic directors around the country, so at the end of the day success is the best measure of performance.

Q: Why is a national search important?
A: It’s important because the university deserves to bring the best talent in for this position. Leading the athletic department, it’s a very complex organization. You’ve got a very large budget. You’ve got to deal with coaches. You’ve got to deal with marketing people. You’ve got to negotiate a lot of contracts with employees. So it’s a very large organization. And on top of it, you’ve got to manage legal compliance issues with the NCAA. So the level of responsibility, the commitment to a winning program, the commitment to helping student-athletes be successful in the classroom is something that’s a unique skill set. And it’s something that if we don’t look broadly across the entire country, we have the potential to miss bringing very strong talent to N.C. State.

Q: You said they don’t have to have previous experience as an athletic director. Why is that not a requirement?
A: Here’s the deal. You want to have a broad search because you don’t want to exclude anyone who’s unusually talented. But I will tell you that my personal bias is that having experience in leading an athletic organization is hard to replicate because of the complexity of the rules that apply to athletics. Now there have been a few cases where athletic directors have come to athletic programs from non-traditional backgrounds. They’ve been lawyers or managers of large private sector businesses. But if they have no experience or understanding of what it takes to run a college-based athletic program, it’s an awfully difficult hill to climb. But I don’t want to exclude the possibility that there may be somebody out there that is not an athletic director or a senior associate athletic director that might have the background and experience that’s relevant. So I’m going to look first at leadership skills, their ability to take an organization and bring a winning attitude to it, to hire, retain and in some cases fire people that you need in the organization to move it forward, and to do that in an environment where you’ve got to be compliant with very complicated rules from the NCAA.

Q: A mid-summer goal is an aggressive one. Is it realistic?
A: It’s realistic, but it’s aggressive. The reason for it is that we want to bring in the athletic director before the fall sports seasons get started so they can be part of the organization moving forward. It is aggressive, but it’s very doable.

Q: How important is fund raising experience?
A: Clearly fund raising is a big part of an athletic organization. You are going to oversee a big fund raising effort. I oversee a big fund raising effort as chancellor. But I also have a lot of other responsibilities.

Q: At the end of the whole process, when it comes time to hire somebody, how important is it to have somebody that you are able to strike a rapport with?
A: It’s always important to have the right people in your management, your leadership team, so your leadership, the trust you have in individuals who work together is important. I can tell you that I know most people we’ll look at will want to know they can work with me as much as I want to be sure I can work with them. The most important thing is that they bring the relevant experience and commitment to success for their athletic program. . . .I’ve said many times, you don’t want this chancellor to run athletics. Because I want it done well. That’s why I hire an athletic director, and I will hire someone that I have their confidence and they have mine as well.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

You can understand that the new Chancellor gets what is important to our alumni and realizes that we are far from where we should be performing.

Thanks Mr. Woodson!

Anonymous said...

I think this guy will be very good for NC State....after the terrible push-over Chancellor Oblinger was.