It has been more than a month since Syracuse announced Daryl Gross was resigning as Athletic Director. But we haven’t heard much since then regarding the University’s search for his successor. Earlier this week, I spoke to Syracuse University’s VP of Public Affairs Kevin Quinn regarding the search.
First, it is important to know who is on the search committee for the new AD. There are four athletic representatives including interim Athletic Director Pete Sala and former SU football player Sam Rodgers, along with 5 University Trustees or Provosts. So there is clearly an influence of both athletics and academics.
Quinn says, “One of the things the Chancellor has said since he became Chancellor last January was one of his goals, probably his most overarching goals for athletics, is to have academics and athletics integrated as seamlessly as possible.”
This is very apparent from the search committee. It is obviously important to the University to make academics more of a priority in the athletic department following the allegations and NCAA report that caused the change.
This carries over into what the committee is looking for in its candidates. Quinn says the Chancellor and committee are looking for “someone who continues to focus on integrity and academic values, respect for diversity and a continued focus on student athlete welfare.” Again, traits that are important following the type of investigation Syracuse just had.
We have heard a lot recently about the growth of the Olympic or non-revenue sports under Dr. Gross and that seems like it will remain a priority for Syracuse moving forward. Quinn says:
“The successful candidate needs to be someone who understands that we have strong football and basketball programs. Those are critically important to the University. At the same time, we have 14 other sports known as Olympic sports or non-revenue sports that are also critically important to the University.”
Interestingly, while there has been a lot of chatter about whether the new Syracuse Athletic Director should have a football background, basketball background or academic background, Quinn says the committee may never even break down the candidates that way. Instead, they will look for someone who has athletic experience and shares some of the “core values the Chancellor has talked about” some of which are listed above.
Of particular note was one of the last things Quinn told me, he said that the search committee is keeping an eye on the Pittsburgh Athletic Director search. He says that the committee will likely “track” the Pitt search as they work on finding someone who would fit here at SU. Whether that means Syracuse will be looking at some of the same candidates as Pittsburgh remains unclear.
At this time, Quinn says the committee has met twice, and does not yet have a list of candidates. If we are looking at the Pitt AD search, it is important to note that the search started in December, and they are still looking. It has been nearly 6 months with no hire yet. Quinn confirmed the Chancellor’s desires to have an Athletic Director hired at SU before the fall semester but added that the University understands that these searches could take longer than originally expected.
At the end of the day, Quinn says the Chancellor wants two things.
“One is an outstanding outcome with a stellar candidate. At the same time, he wants an accelerated search as much as possible.”
Not sure if the two necessarily go together, but it seems like Chancellor Syverud wants a great hire and a fast hire. It remains to be seen if that can be done. But if things go according to the University’s plan, we will be learning more about the Athletic Director search as the summer approaches and we should know who the next AD is by about mid-August.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg