Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips Expected to Announce Retirement

Larry Williams publicly confirmed what we’ve been hearing for some time now, which is that Terry Don Phillips is expected to announce his retirement relatively soon and that he will stay on until his contract expires in June 2013. Associate AD and CFO Katie Hill is expected to retire and possibly return to Arkansas, but in any event she will not stay on when TDP leaves.

TDP managed to get out of being fired two years ago following the loss to SC, when we called for his head, and were told that he had in fact been told that his contract would probably be terminated at the Board’s discretion. Exactly how the following BOT meeting went is not public knowledge, but TDP and Barker both remained in their posts, and we suddenly got to hear about a $50 million campaign for facilities improvements that no one had said a word about beforehand. Interesting isn’t it? Its also interesting how a football budget that pinched pennies with coaching salaries has exploded since.

Now, it appears that the Board, who have final say over his contract irrespective of Barker’s wishes, does not want it renewed and will go in a new direction for the next Athletic Director. They intend to go with a search firm, and we hope the hire is made from outside Clemson.

Aside from the complaints that TDP has been head of a department that has had lackluster results over his tenure in all sports combined, particularly up until the 6-7 debacle, its known that he does not enjoy fundraising efforts and rarely attends functions. Some of it is due to his back problems and other issues, to be fair. Katie Hill is not exactly beloved within the AD because of her budgetary tactics, but has kept Clemson in the black financially. She arrived with TDP from Arkansas and has been our budget hawk ever since.

Obviously we support the Board on this one, and specifically the ones who pushed the hardest for this change in leadership.

There are no candidates so far, but I think there should be primarily 2 criteria above all others in selection of the next AD. The first is fundraising ability, since it does not look like we’re getting anything close to SEC/B1G/Pac-12 money anytime soon. If a guy can raise money, he can raise the overall morale of the folks working within the AD. That can only help.

The second is that he needs to have a vision for Clemson. TDP got the WEZ, the Littlejohn Annex and renovations, but after that everything seemed to wither on the vine. Where were the initiatives for basketball? Baseball? Soccer? The Chapman Grandstands at Tiger Field were a product of a big donation directed towards that purpose, there was no big public initiative. It does not matter to me that we could not pay for everything to be done then and there, what I wanted to hear from Clemson is where we were planning to go and how we planned to do it. There was no such plan communicated. There were no plans for an indoor facility, and 6 months before the plans for one were unveiled, when Clemson was embarrassed to show our Indoor Track to the NFL scouts on Pro Day, he even said they had none and that Clemson didn’t feel an IPF was necessary. This after our first ACC Atlantic title, and a bowl win, when fundraising might have been easier. I think the plan was there, and sat on a desk. My suspicion is that the holdup was Barker, and that TDP may not totally be at fault, but the fact remains that there should always be a plan and there was not one put forth until the fans raised hell and wanted everyone fired after the 2010 season. You should not forget the power that you have.

The best example of those two traits we’ve ever had was Dollar Bill McLellan. He got the coaches what they needed, and then worked on what they wished they had.

The third criteria for me is that he comes from outside Clemson, but that is not a sticking point. We’re a good ol boy’s network in a lot of things, and the poor leadership that has held us back in many sports for many years can only be corrected by ending the incestuous relationship and going outside the family. Twenty years without an ACC title was not just coaching; no titles for basketball is not just coaching; and our decline in baseball has not just been coaching. Yes there may be extenuating circumstances, but overall it’s the lack of leadership in a direction. I do not want Mike Hamilton, who ran Tennessee into the ground. I do not want Billy D, as good a guy as he is and always has been and I do not want Kyle Young either. Dollar Bill came from within, but he had the first two traits in abundance.

You’ll notice that I don’t put as big a premium on previous sports experience or coaching. I don’t think it’s as important as it once was, and I think an athletic department these days needs to be run like a business.

These are difficult things to research. I can only offer up names I’ve researched thus far who have gotten results where they have been: Chris del Conte at TCU (took over for Hyman), Ian McCaw at Baylor, Dan Radakovich at Georgia Tech, Charlie Cobb at App State, and Chris Hill at Utah. There are certainly others I could get behind. Dwight Clark may be the only Clemson guy who could win my support, and that’s because he has been in the big business and a winner.

Expect there to be some rumblings within IPTAY on the choice that is made. Recall that IPTAY money does not belong to the Athletic Department. TDP had a fit when he found out that IPTAY funds were not at his discretion to spend. The next AD may ask for more powers over Priority Four funding levels, so that IPTAY never sits on a big $41M chunk of cash any longer. Such a thing might cause a fight and require a change to the IPTAY Constitution.

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