Seemingly out of the blue, FSU finds itself in the hunt for an athletic director. Stan Wilcox will be leaving the school after five years to become the second in command at the NCAA.
What will FSU do?
Hiring an athletic director isn’t quite the same as hiring a football coach; the job is less visible – although very visible – and oversight includes the entirety of the athletic department, not just one sport. FSU’s athletic director job is a bit more complicated by that position not being completely in charge of the fundraising, a responsibility taken on by Seminole Boosters.
Here is a quick list of candidates who I think could excel at the position. This doesn’t mean they have been contacted, but they just make sense. As I am still gathering information on the situation, look forward to future blogs and social media posts about the subject.
Greg Phillips – Chief Financial Officer University of Oklahoma Athletic Department
Phillips is the former CFO in FSU’s athletic department and holds the same position presently at Oklahoma. In his career, he has had oversight over financial planning, business operations, accounting, development, ticketing and licensing to name a few.
He spent 19 years at FSU before leaving for OU in 2006.
I believe he’s got to be high on the list.
Ross Bjork – Athletics Director, University of Mississippi
Bjork is young, dynamic, outgoing, forward-thinking and has dealt with the Rebels’ scandals as well as could be expected. It is important to note that Bjork was not in Oxford for most of what Ole Miss Football got in trouble for.
Bjork has raised a boatload of money for Ole Miss while guiding them through a variety of off-field turmoil beyond even the NCAA problems.
It is important to note that Bjork is close to Willie Taggart as Bjork was the AD at Western Kentucky when Taggart coached there.
Martin Mayhew – Senior Personnel Executive, San Francisco 49ers
Mayhew is a former FSU alumni who has a ton of front office experience in the NFL. He was the general manager for the Lions and now works front office for the 49ers.
Honestly, I’m shocked he hasn’t been approached to come back to the university in some capacity. He is a Tallahassee native and alumni of Florida State University High School who also holds a law degree from the school.
Ed Burr – Chairman, FSU Board of Trustees
Burr is close to FSU President John Thrasher. He’d be a reach seeing as he is the chairman of the board of trustees as well as being president and CEO of his own financial company.
He has been instrumental behind the scenes in securing FSU’s stand-alone football facility as well as the 2019 opener against Boise State in Jacksonville.
Others who should be considered are Brandi Stuart, a former softball All-American at FSU who has had all kinds of jobs inside the NCAA as well as at a variety of athletic departments across the Power 5, Brain Battle, interim AD at FAU who was formerly the Director of Compliance at FSU, former football player Derrick Brooks, former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, Rob Mullins and FSU’s current Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business and CFO Matt Behnke.
All of these names combine a level of familiarity with FSU and experience.
This isn’t a learn-on-the-go job; FSU is trying to secure its place in the upper echelon of the Power 5. The AD will need to be someone who understands the complexities of the NCAA and can also serve as a partner with the boosters. He or she needs to be charismatic and confident making high-profile decisions as new head coaching hires in men’s basketball and baseball are coming soon.
RELATED: My favorite FSU football traditions.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/who-should-be-on-fsus-short-list-of-candidates-to-replace-ad-stan-wilcox/