It is very rare that we include a note from Sid Hartman as breaking news or an inside scoop, but he has a note in today's column about the search for a new Athletic Director. Hartman notes that a local search firm is going to be hired and very soon, this isn't breaking news but Hartman is very certain that the current interim AD, Beth Goetz is not only the favorite but she will eventually be hired.
"However, I am sure interim athletic director Beth Goetz will get the permanent job, as sure as I was that Adrian Peterson would return to the Vikings after his suspension."
That is very certain don't you think? He does caveat that he thinks Goetz will get the job unless a strong candidate "who is employed by a big-time school" comes along. He also talks about Craig Thompson, who is a Minnesota alumn and the Mountain West commissioner. But he appears to be content as the MWC Commish and not going to be a candidate to come here.
A couple of thoughts from me...
One name I'd like to see get some consideration is Phil Esten.
For those who believe the next AD needs to be "one of us" or at least have strong ties to the University, he went to college at St. Thomas and was an associate AD at the U working with fundraising, he was the president of the alumni association for a while and now is currently the deputy AD at Penn State.
Personally I don't care that he is from the area but I do think that having worked in the athletic department previously he would hit the ground running with already knowing many of the challenges he'll face here. I also really like that he has been working in a "big-time" athletic department and one that knows how to prioritize football. I would think that his name is one that should be strongly considered. I have no idea if he would have any interest, but I would imagine the prospect of being a Big Ten AD would be attractive. One also assumes that moving back close to family and old friends would also be a draw. Maybe he loves Penn State, maybe he knows too much about Minnesota and wants to stay away, maybe he left under bad circumstances (I have no idea). But if he were to emerge, I'd be very intrigued.
Beth Goetz? I have no qualms with her getting the job. Many of the message board fodder seems to be saying that people are unsure about her willingness to make tough decisions or really lead the athletic department. I fear much of that is unintentionally thinking that because she is a woman who has a pleasant demeanor, then she may not be able to make tough decisions.
Truth is we really just don't know. Maybe she is a hard-ass, maybe she is one who makes very wise decisions, maybe she would be a fantastic leader who helps move the athletic department forward. What we can all agree upon is that there needs to be more success on the field for the program's three main sports. The next AD will have some tough decisions to make in all three areas. This hire is very important.