Another week has passed, and another AD candidate has popped up on our radar. Sources indicate that University of Florida Executive Associate Athletic Director Mike Hill is in the mix to replace the retiring Terry Don Phillips. Larry Williams over at Tiger Illustrated also tweeted that Mr. Hill is, "very much on the radar". Privately, we have heard that the Clemson brass is impressed with Hill and he is a top candidate for the position.
Mike Hill is a graduate of UNC, feel free to start your moaning here, but some reports suggest that he is a Clemson native and graduated from Daniel High School. While at UNC he appears to have double majored in Political Science and Radio, TV, and Motion Pictures.
Mr. Hill started out at working for the Blockbuster Bowl as Director of Marketing for 2 years before heading to Ball State as an assistant to the AD. Following a year at Ball State he was hired on at UF as the Athletics Marketing Coordinator in 1993. For 19 years now he has been involved with the UF athletic department in some capacity.
Following his stint in marketing and promotions, Mike moved to a position dealing with external affairs. During this time is when he began to get more involved with scheduling, particularly with UF’s basketball program. He was responsible for working with head coach Billy Donovan to create several extremely tough non-conference schedules. One of his recent successes is the scheduling of Navy/Marine Corp Classic game against Georgetown. For those of who you don’t care about college basketball, this is one of those games that will take place on an aircraft carrier.
Obviously this willingness to schedule tough games is great. Clemson needs an AD who is willing to go out and make sure we play games against teams like Georgia, Auburn, and other teams that are usually near the top of their conference.
By all accounts he is well thought of at Florida. He has shown a willingness to reach out to Blogs and other websites that cover the school, and this interview gives some great insight to his approach. Having an AD who understands the changing media landscape is certainly not a bad thing.
Mike is also responsible for corporate sponsorship and ticket sales, these are two of our biggest criteria here for selecting the next AD. Clemson needs a big fundraiser, and TDP takes a nap when you mention fundraising. While it is UF, this probably means Hill knows how schmooze with the donors and other bigwigs, always a plus when you need to raise cash.
Another part of his current duties that I wish would matter is his responsibility for negotiating media rights agreements as well as serving as the point of contact for these media rights holders. If Clemson ever had the ability to negotiate Tier 3 rights, this experience would be invaluable.
One potential downside to Hill’s resume is that he does not appear to be involved with coach hires/firing according to Columbia radio host Heath Cline. Those duties are handled by Jeremy Foley at Florida, but it is hard to imagine that Hill has never been involved in the hiring/firing of coaches during his tenure at UF. This seems like a relatively small problem, but I’d rather have the search committee look at all the upsides and downsides rather than closing their eyes and pointing at the first guy they see.
A big question that has to be asked is just how willing would Mr. Hill be to leave UF? He has now been there for 19 years and it appears unusual that he hasn’t had an offer to become AD at a smaller school. Maybe he is waiting for the UF job to open up, as some thought Dave Hart would at Alabama (and he ended up at Tennessee) or maybe he doesn’t really want to be an AD. Either way I don’t know how great it would be for Clemson to take a shot in the dark with a career athletic department employee. Although at least this hire would get away from the traditional nepotism at Clemson.