Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some ideas for N.C. State athletic director

Members of N.C. State's search committee for a new athletic director want commercials to be less disruptive during sporting events.

They want the new athletic director to be visible and savvy with marketing. And they want the next AD to come in with a full understanding (and perhaps a forewarning) of just how passionate N.C. State's fans are.

One by one, members of the seach committee articulated what they want in an athletic director Monday. Some of the responses were fascinating.

Dan Parker, the Parker Executive Search president whose advice is costing N.C. State $75,000 as it seeks to replace Lee Fowler, asked the 13 members to spend two or three minutes each during Monday’s open meeting describing their criteria for an athletic director.

If you closed your eyes, you would have thought somebody was reading posts from one of the Internet message boards devoted to N.C. State. The answers of these high-ranking officials in many ways mirrored the sentiments of average fans.

They want to win more on the field. They want higher graduation rates. They want somebody who is an excellent fund raiser, and somebody with experience hiring and developing coaches.

But some of the more original and thoughtful responses are worth passing along:

- Committee members seem united in the idea that they want somebody who can market the university and its athletic department.

This extends in particular to the gameday experience at N.C. State events. Trustee Steve Warren wants advertisements at games to be less intrusive and more sophisticated.

Wolfpack Club president Ray Rouse seconded that notion, saying he doesn’t think the guy that runs the scoreboard is watching the same game Rouse is watching as a fan.

"To have a Jiffy Lube commercial when it’s first-and-goal at the 2 is ridiculous,” Rouse said.

- Senior associate athletic director David Horning said it’s important to have an athletic director who makes himself visible to athletes and employees.

Horning said athletes in exit interviews say they would like to see the athletic director at more of their games. He also said the expansion of facilities, with separate coaches in different buildings as far away as the Murphy Center for football, an athletic director will have to work hard to see everybody.

"We’re so decentralized now that it’s hard to be visible,” Horning said.

- Student body president Kelly Hook added to the discussion about marketing when she mentioned that the new athletic director will need to take a serious look at the university’s apparel contract with Adidas, which expires soon.

She said students want the university to be affiliated with brands that help recruiting. With that mature and well researched suggestion, Hook demonstrated the sophistication as a student that would make her peers and N.C. State alumni proud.

- Faculty athletics representative Sam Pardue would like to see an athletic director implement a standard policy across the department for discipline when an athlete misses class.

Instead, Pardue said, that discipline is left up to individual coaches.

"I’d like to see some leadership in that regard,” Pardue said.

- Finally, women’s basketball coach Kellie Harper addressed perhaps the most controversial subject of all.

The ire some fans had developed for Fowler was one of the reasons he was asked to step down. Harper said the new athletic director needs to understand how passionate the fans are at N.C. State and use it as a positive, even as new technology makes it easier for dissenters to vent.

"It’s important [for the new AD] to know that we’re operating with a different group [of fans],” Harper said.

Harper, who’s just a year removed from being hired out of Western Carolina, also offered perhaps the best recruiting pitch to prospective candidates when Parker asked her what the biggest surprise was about her job.

"This is a great university,” Harper said. “I didn’t realize how good it was until I got here.”

There were knowing nods among the committee members. They were obviously eager for the next athletic director to come to the same realization as Harper.

Ken Tysiac


T Patt said...

Every one of those points is a legitimate concern. NCSU is the largest university in the state, yet the level of marketing and self-promotion is pitiful. Also, it has been shown over and over again that athletic success and academic success don't have to be separate. The two can co-exist. I hope Chancellor Woodson makes a wise choice so that NCSU can return to a place of prominence in the ACC and national scene.

Anonymous said...

please please please do something about the adidas contract. I have nothing against adidas, I would have no problem keeping them as our brand, but seriously, they have given N.C. State some of the worst looking gear Ive seen out there. If you go into the bookstore, half the shades of red dont even match!!! I just had the opportunity to visit WVU for a friends graduation and there apparel puts ours to shame, granted its Nike. Do something about the quality of clothing our school puts its name on and maybe some more people would buy it, winning more wouldnt hurt either... Go State.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that a school can't fire its fans. What holds State back from getting good candidates for coaching and administrators is the nutjobs in the fanbase that act like the Taliban of college sports.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad this is being addressed. Addidas always projects a "Euro" look (e.g. large color bands...shoulder stripes). Quite frankly its hideous. Combined with Red...its disasterous. Nike apparel is far more reserved and some of my best State apparel is my old Nike stuff. Marketing of more reserved apparel is a key to projecting the kind of academic image that is commensurate with NC State' real perennial academic level...while concurrently showing school spirit and marketing of its time-honored icons.

Pack said...

"Taliban of college sports" = blogging on an article that obviously has nothing to do with your school of choice.

Who's the real nutjob?

Hansen said...

Pack - Hilarious, but don't fret...these Anon. UNC fans are nervous that we are finally making progress. At 0-3 in football and watching the wheels fall of the bandwagon in bball, the anxiety is making them lash out like a 2 year old without a bottle.

Anonymous said...

Here are some good NC State candidates : Elmer Fudd, Mr. Green Jeans, and Larry "The Cable Guy". Any of these guys would be a good fit for NC State.


Anonymous said...

Bring back the unitard!

Anonymous said...

Who's lashing out? As a UNC fan, I think it's nice that after some 20 years of dormancy, State's decided to reboot its athletic department. I was born and raised in this state, and I think the world functions better when you' guys are a legitimate challenger across the board. I'm afraid that you're going to find that changing your uniforms isn't going to add to the win column as much as Smedes and the Tomatoes seem to think these days, though. You might just find that those wheels aren't falling off as quickly as you thought!

Oh, and PS, as a UNC alum I hear by bequeath you just as many of our bandwagon fans as you like! We have plenty. We've been sloughing them off onto Duke as fast as we can this year! I think you'll see they do little but embarrass your school and its real fans, anyway. Hell, they're the only thing my State friends have wanted to talk about for years now! The rest is too painful...

Anonymous said...

Where to begin....

First, I don't believe you'll find many, if any, NC State fans who believe a change in the athletic apparel contracts (from adidas to nike, for example) will do anything to improve success on the field/court. These are, of course, two completely separate issues, both of which do need to be addressed by the new AD when the time comes. As a presumably intelligent person I'm sure you're aware of this, but nice effort anyway in trying to paint NCSU fans (who want both issues addressed) as being silly for thinking a new contract with nike, or whoever, will translate into immediate turnaround and increased success. If I'm mistaken, and you really DO believe any of our fans think a new apparel contract will automatically turn the entire athletics program around, let me assure you we do not. I would also suggest you learn the differences between "causation" and "correlation".

Regarding your school's bandwagon fans, no thanks, you can keep them. And don't worry as there will always be plenty of them to step and fill any vacated positions. They're easy to spot....they're the ones that gladly tell you "I root for carolina in basketball and ??????? in football", where "????????" could be Notre Dame,Texas, USC or whoever is prognosticated to be at or near the top of the rankings (or whoever has just won the most recent mNC).

Of course there's nothing strange there, that's how bandwagon fans are. The difference, however, is that I've met nearly as many of these folks who are unc alums as not. Its these folks that truly reflect poorly on your fanbase.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, and PS, as a UNC alum I hear by bequeath you..."

What? Hear by?? So you're an UNC "alum" are you? THAT speaks volumes! Stay literate, my friends. Wow. Now more to the point, what business does a puny third-rate ODAC school have talking trash about a big-time program like NC State? That the Charlotte Observer has their nose in it certainly comes as no surprise. Funny how those so-called professional sports journalists at that rag have grown silent over the UNC cheating scandal(s) lately- showing their "true blue" colors, as always. For years they've had to resort to writing ANY drivel, true or otherwise, about State-Duke-Wake just to sell papers to the masses of semi-literate UNC "sidewalk alumni" (see above), in an attempt to prolong their own pathetic existence. Stay UNC biased, my friends. As for Hampden (burp) Sydney, when was the last time you had a decent football program? It was probably about the last time any of you got laid over there at Longwood, 1960-whatever-it-was, right? Here's some advice boys.... Stay up there in that depressed little rathole- unless you want to move to a larger rathole like your friends in Charlotte- and M.Y.O.B. Because just like the Charlotte Disturber, you clearly know nothing about the finest university- academically AND athletically- in this state.