You can watch the press conference for yourself, I find that is better than the press release. Barker mentioned that other prospective Athletic Directors who would not mind being named were Charlie Cobb of App State, Billy D, and Carla Williams at UGA. We know that Jamey Rootes of the Houston Texans was contacted, and that Mike Hill at Florida was interviewed for the position. I do know from a reliable source that Danny Morrison of the Carolina Panthers was a top choice for the position, but did not wish to leave Charlotte. There was rumor that former Clemson player Kendall Alley was a candidate, but I haven't heard anything concrete on his front.
We were going to run a profile on Cobb if this search continued beyond football season, because I had heard very good compliments about his activities at App State. We did not intend to write anything on Morrison because we knew Clemson could not match his financial package for the Panthers, and it is unlikely we could've matched what Kendall Alley currently makes at BB&T. We were not going to write anything on Billy D either, because God help us if he had gotten this job. It would also certainly guarantee that Kyle Young would eventually become AD, which I think is an even worse outcome. The word from the BOT was that they would vehemently oppose any internal hire, so we saw no need to run any profile on Bill D'Andrea.
We've run our profile on Radakovich, and the reactions I see from most have been overwhelmingly negative. I do not see this hire as a negative. I see Radakovich's credentials as similar to Hill's without the head AD experience, yet everyone wants to crucify him for hiring Paul Johnson, and then giving him a buyout that essentially guarantees him his full sum of the contract.
Well Paul Johnson can coach football. Saying he was a bad hire in the same sentence where you complain about the option identifies you as a moron who knows jack shit about football. I'm sorry to break it to people who are complete idiots and still think the triple option is a gimmick offense, but its a successful system and Clemson's offense incorporates many of the same principles. I don't see you complaining that Tajh Boyd ran a Speed Option for a TD against BC and pitched on a Speed Option Thursday night that resulted in a TD, or that we use the same misdirection that the Wing-T uses, albeit from different formations. Johnson won an ACC Championship for Georgia Tech quite quickly after his hire, and had a great track record at Georgia Southern and Navy. He knows how to coach and given that GT football is a stagnant program with a fanbase that cares very little for football and a local paper that doesn't even care about any of the school's sports, I don't see any issue with his hire.
The only valid complaint about Johnson is that his personality does not resonate with young people and he has few recruiters on his staff. If it was merely that his offense is hard to sell, he would at least be able to recruit good defensive players. He has not, and by all means you should blame him for that. I personally think it will end up getting Paul Johnson fired unless he hires a very strong DC and replacement defensive staff this offseason.
His contract buyout is laughable in anyone's book. I fail to see the reasoning why he was offered so much because I don't see who would come after him. His system is fine and can win anywhere, but I believe other fanbases are just as naive about option football and it would not generate tremendous excitement in any case. Once you mention that your offense is Wing-T, it does not put people in seats.
Meanwhile, Sleepy Don Phillips hired a WR Coach who appealed to the visceral nature of the Clemson fanbase, and who has identified himself as someone who could not X&O himself out of a cardboard box. The only thing he has proven that he can do extremely well is recruit, and recruit some good assistants to coach underneath him. Most who follow us closely know that we will support Dabo if he continues to recruit and win, and the only way he's going to win is to keep his hands off the playcalling sheet. Sleepy made two good basketball hires, which were both his second choices for the job. We could've ended up with Rick Stansbury if we had ponied up the cash, and that would've been a disaster.
Back to Radakovich...and I'll reiterate that our main criteria for the next AD were that he be able to formulate a vision for Clemson athletics, be able to raise funds to compete with UGA and SC's TV contracts and marketing deals, improve our facilities, and bring the focus back to winning championships. These are areas where Phillips has been asleep at the wheel, and these are the areas where I will end up making my decision on whether Radakovich is a good director several years from now.
My thoughts on the hire is that it is obviously not a home run, and it is unlikely that I would get very excited about any AD hire we made, because they are so difficult to evaluate individually. The financial figures of various athletic departments are not all readily available, and it is not like we can hear all the candidates speaking and selling their programs. This is why I have such a difficult time believing that anyone would come and tell me that Hill or Rootes or any others would be a home run hire. You don't have any access to any more facts than I do. All I hear is that "oh he's from Clemson!", well I'm not going to jump on board with anyone just because they are from here. I'm not going to look at it from an emotional perspective like that.
When I see Radakovich I look at his previous stops and what happened while he was there. I was at LSU when he served under Bertmann, and I know the revamp in facilities that took place in that time under Saban and then Miles. I recall hearing that Saban completely revamped everything and demanded as much upon accepting the job at LSU, and their fundraising initiatives while I was there were far superior to anything IPTAY had done in the lost decade. That period is a definite plus for him in my book.
We all know the facilities changes that have taken place at SC, where he served under Mike McGee from 1994-2000, prior to the LSU job. That time could be viewed more as laying the groundwork for what Eric Hyman did to follow them, so I don't see it as any more than push.
With the NCAA investigation and forfeiture of the 2009 ACC Title (which means jack because we all know that they won it on the field, which is all that matters), he found out about the NCAA inquiry and told Paul Johnson instead of declaring the player ineligible. He sided with his coach instead of the NCAA. Good for him. I don't consider this a negative for Radakovich, but I am surprised Barker got past it.
I do know that he was mentioned as a possible replacement as soon as Hyman took the A&M job, and may have been offered the position if Ray Tanner had decided to remain in the dugout. He was also mentioned as a candidate for the A&M job that Hyman took. He was a candidate at Tennessee before they managed to talk Dave Hart out of his AD-in-waiting job at Alabama. Incidentally, if TDP had been fired two years ago like I wanted, it was Dave Hart that we would've pushed hardest for here.
I do speak to some HS coaches in the state of Georgia, and some people who have gone to hear this guy speak. The reactions have been mixed. They do all agree that he is articulate and has a plan for Georgia Tech. They all say he can sell the program, and has had a facilities plan from Day 1, but agree that the results on the field have not shown it every year in the two major sports. He has totally revamped the basketball facilities in Atlanta. He led the way for an indoor facility, and was quoted to me as saying "I'm always looking for something else to build to prove that football is important at Georgia Tech." He has upgraded the facilities in the Olympic sports like golf, tennis, and softball. He has secured funding for them all despite the serious financial problems left for him by the previous AD. He has butted heads with the new GT President when it comes to academic restrictions on recruiting players, which is a big plus in my book. TDP just did what his boss told him to do. I know he went to bat on the technology GT used in their facilities with the previous President, when GT is a technological school. We do now know that Clemson is bringing out some revamped curricula and majors that would allow us to recruit JUCO players next year, which you can thank the BOT for having a hand in, and give yourself a pat on the back if you spammed their inboxes two years ago.
I do not think his hire of Gregory in basketball was a particularly impressive hire however, and GT baseball blows it in the postseason just as quickly as Jack Leggett's squads do, and no big change has been made there. I do not have a feel for whether he would eventually make a change in Tiger baseball, but I do believe he will find a way to market the baseball program so it stops bleeding money, and if Jack Leggett wants to buy new equipment or hire a top-notch pitching coach, he would not let someone like Katie Hill stand in the way.
If there is a perceived barrier to success, I think that Radakovich will push for a change. That is not something I can say about Phillips or D'Andrea. I could not readily say that about the other candidates based on the profiles we have done here thus far.
But would I have interviewed Baylor's, TCU's or Utah's AD? Absolutely. Am I 100% sold on Radakovich? No. I will take a wait-and-see approach. I want to see his imprint on the new basketball practice facility for Brownell and the new boxes at Tiger Field. I want to hear him tell us, more often than once every 2-4 years, what his plan is for our facilities at Clemson.
What Clemson needs is a guy who will think outside-the-box right now and who is committed to the fans. I think we have found that much, but I will pull no punches when it comes to the results I see on the fields of play. If I do not think the whole Clemson athletic program is elevated in a few years time, I'll be the first one to call for his head.
We will see.