Better Know an AD Candidate: Jamey Rootes

Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Jamey Rootes is a new name that has emerged as a candidate for the AD position at Clemson University. Rootes is a bit of unknown candidate, but as a student enjoyed some success at Clemson University.

We've heard very little on the AD search, but after some digging we uncovered Jamey Rootes, currently president of the Houston Texans.

Rootes is a native of Stone Mountain, GA, and attended Clemson University in the 1980's. He played soccer for the Tigers and was part of both national title winning teams during the decade. He knows what it takes to win national titles and after 20 plus years of underachievement, it could be just what Clemson needs. While at Clemson he was also Student Body President .

Rootes also spent some time in the corporate world with jobs at IBM and Proctor and Gamble and earning his MBA from Indiana University in between.

Jamey then moved into the sports world when he became president of the Columbus Crew when Major League Soccer began play. Under his leadership the Crew built the first soccer-specific stadium in the US, and was in the top 2 of MLS in terms of operating performance. The Crew were also successful on the field where they made the playoffs each year and reached the U.S. Open Cup final.

Following 5 years with the club he moved to the NFL as a vice president of the Houston Texans for marketing and sales. Rootes was responsible for securing the naming rights to Reliant Stadium, as well as overseeing all the normal aspects of ticket sales and marketing that are unique to a new franchise. After his stellar performance, he was made president of the Texans.

Every article about Rootes indicates he is a driven executive who expects everyone below him to work hard. He is well respected both inside and outside of the Texans organization. Jamey was twice listed on Sports Business Journals 40 under 40 executive lists and is still young enough that he could settle into the job for the long haul.

Our biggest concern with Rootes is his lack of experience in college athletics. Things have changed since the 1980's, and even then Rootes' only experience was as a student athlete, not as an administrator. His youth would probably concern some at Clemson, but hopefully his success at various levels of professional athletics would help temper that concern.

One of the nice things about Rootes is that he does have experience in the business world as well as professional athletics. Sometimes people can get tunnel vision when spending all their time in one area, but Rootes will have a number of different experiences to draw on as Clemson's AD.

It is also nice to see that Rootes does have experience in sales with an athletic team. One of TDP's biggest drawbacks was his lack of fundraising prowess. Mr. Rootes would probably get many boosters to part with some more of their hard-earned cash which is sorely needed with the growing gap between us and top-tier athletic programs. Note that our biggest criteria for selection of the next AD are in the fundraising and marketing areas: we must make more money if we are to compete. We need a salesman at Athletic Director.

Jamey Rootes would also be unlikely to suffer under coaches who perform poorly or play off past success into season after season of mediocrity. I think he would move quickly to bring in talented coaches who can ensure athletic programs at Clemson return to their lofty heights, however we have little evidence to suggest that he would make major changes in the Big 3.

Perhaps the biggest key to his chances of getting the job is that he is a Clemson alum, but he is not necessarily a "Clemson" person. By that I mean he has been out of the bubble of Clemson ever since graduating. He would not be beholden to the nepotism that can run rampant at Clemson, and would be able to bring a fresh take to the athletic department while still respecting the traditions we all hold dear.

Out of all the potential candidates named, Jamey Rootes may be the best option by combining his love and knowledge of Clemson with his experience working in professional athletics.

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