TALLAHASSEE -- With Wednesday's news that Florida State athletics director Randy Spetman has been assigned to a new advisory role in the university's athletics department, school administrators will soon direct their attention to a national search for his replacement.
Such search processes are never easy. As we have seen in recent weeks with the continued drama at Rutgers after its firing and hiring of ADs, the process can sometimes bring unnecessary headaches to the school executing it. Thorough research, intense vetting and lengthy conversations must be had by all parties if such a process will be properly carried out, and the right candidate selected.
Part of that process includes determining how well the new athletics director will get along with his coaches and other administrators. Leadership style and ability to manage a football coach with the sway that Jimbo Fisher has on school athletic policy will be key traits the search committee will have to determine, as well.
We'll learn a lot more about FSU's AD selection process in the coming weeks. But for now, let's put ourselves in president Eric Barron's shoes and fill out a candidate wish list.
The following names are not and have not been linked to FSU's athletics director opening. [I REPEAT, these names currently ARE NOT and HAVE NOT been linked to FSU's athletics director opening]
These are just names that one has to imagine will be explored at some point during FSU's search. There are a number of possible candidates out there who are already athletics directors, and some who aren't. A large part of it depends on what FSU administrators like Barron and the Board of Trustees wants in an AD, and what they want the future of FSU athletics to look like.
The good news for FSU is that the timing of its AD change comes one week before the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics holds its annual convention in Orlando. Expect the university to have some representation at the event that begins Monday at the World Center Marriott Resort.
With all of that said, let's take an early look at a few names to consider:
Chris Del Conte, TCU
Del Conte has appeared on virtually every projected athletics director's opening for the last two years. An AD had enough vision to understand that college football's landscape was changing and that he had to figure out where his school fit, Del Conte helped orchestrate TCU's departure from the Mountain West Conference to the artist formerly known as the Big East to ultimately the Big 12. Under his watch, TCU's football team reached back-to-back BCS bowl games, and the baseball team reached the College World Series for the first time. He is a popular administrator whose meteoric rise the last four years has made him a valued commodity in the AD community.
Been at TCU since: 2009
Base salary: $695,769 (Source: USA Today AD's salary database. FSU currently is paying Randy Spetman $350,000)
Greg Byrne, Arizona
Another well-paid AD on the rise, Byrne has also been on his share of recent target lists. In the three years since he has been at Arizona, Byrne has enacted new fundraising initiatives for the school, and increased expansion to the university's equivalent of the Seminole Boosters. Football stadium and basketball improvements also have been part of his tenure, as has athletics success. Arizona's baseball team won the CWS last year.
Byrne's AD career began at Mississippi State where he was the youngest AD in the SEC and in Division I-A sports. During his time at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs hired current football coach Dan Mullen. The reenergized the fan base and the football program. Byrne holds a Master's degree from Mississippi State. Those SEC connections might go over well with FSU leaders like Fisher, who understands and appreciates the football-first culture of the conference. Byrne also is the son of former Texas A&M athletics director Bill Byrne.
Been at Arizona since: 2010
Base salary: $600,000
Mark Coyle, Boise State
Aside from the fact that he hasn't been at Boise State long, Coyle may be one of the best fits for the FSU job. The Broncos AD holds a Master's degree in sports administration from FSU. He worked in FSU's athletics administration by working in ticket sales and operations. He recently helped negotiate a home-and-home between Boise State and FSU for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He's 44. He's familiar with Florida. His football team has performed on a bight stage his entire, albeit brief, tenure. ...
There is a lot about Coyle that would appear to be attractive to FSU.
Like Byrne, he has a little SEC experience, having served as Kentucky's deputy athletics director before his move to Boise State in 2011. Part of his duties at Kentucky, Tennessee, Notre Dame and the SEC, were managing multimedia marketing rights agreeements. Given the ACC's new grant of media rights deal with ESPN and the hope that the conference can create its own network in the coming years, Coyle, to that end, could be a good fit for FSU and the ACC.
Been at Boise State since: 2011
Base salary: $333,000
Ian McCaw, Baylor
As FSU sits at a potentially pivotal spot with respect to its on-field success, McCaw could be an ideal candidate to help push that forward. Since McCaw's arrival as athletics director 10 years ago, Baylor has had its best period of competitive success. The football program has thrived, even boasting the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner in Robert Griffin III. Under McCaw, men's basketball has recovered well from a 2003 scandal involving the murder of a player. In the same period, women's basketball has emerged as a consistent national power.
The Bears have also completed a series of renovations to their facilities under McCaw. Among the changes, Baylor has upgraded its football seating. The school also has a new indoor practice facility, basketball training facility, softball practice facility and equestrian center.
One of the hallmarks of McCaw's time as an administrator has been setting up and implementing a series of five-year plans. He has done that at Baylor, as well as at Northeastern, where he previously worked.
Been at Baylor since: 2003
Base salary: $498,226
John Currie, Kansas State
The Wake Forest graduate has been at Kansas State since 2009, and has, like Del Conte and Byrne, been tabbed as one of the rising stars in collegiate athletics. In 2011, Currie was named one of Sports Business Journal's "Forty under 40" among national sports leaders.
While at Kansas State, Currie has overseen his share of athletic success, particularly on the football field. The Wildcats have had a rebirth of sorts under coach Bill Snyder. Last season, the Wildcats won the Big 12 and advanced to a BCS bowl. Their quarterback was a Heisman Trophy contender for much of the season.
Although Currie has pulled his share of strings for the university behind the scenes, publicly, he has seemed to take a backseat to the legendary Snyder. To most outsiders, Snyder is the most recognized face in the athletics department at K-State. For a school like FSU where the football coach has such a heavy role in athletic policy, having experience with a nationally-respected and highly-visible coach like Snyder could be important for a new AD to have.
Been at Kansas State since: 2009
Base salary: $537,500
Others to consider: Monk Bonasorte (FSU). There's no reason to believe right now that FSU's senior associate athletics director would want the head AD job, but his experience with scheduling and football operations certainly makes him an option. He also is an FSU alum, having played football for the Seminoles in the 1970s.
Vanessa Fuchs (FSU). The interim AD is FSU's senior women's administrator and other senior associate athletics director. Also an FSU graduate, Fuchs' administrative experience lies in the academic and compliance side of FSU athletics. She certainly could be an option based upon how her interim duties go. Again, though, there is no reason to believe right now that she would want to be the new permanent AD.
Brian Battle (UNC-Greensboro). Battle currently holds a position that is similar to Bonasorte's, although he also has experience with the duties Fuchs had before being named interim AD. Currently, he is the senior associate AD for internal operations at UNC-Greensboro. Battle holds a Master's from FSU and has worked there twice. He was in compliance and sports information while at FSU. He also was the head of compliance during FSU's academic fraud scandal.
Jon Gilbert (Tennessee). A longtime administrator in the SEC, Gilbert currently serves as Tenneessee's executive senior athletics director. He has been with the Volunteers since 2011, joining former FSU athletics director Dave Hart when Hart left Alabama. Hart is now Tennessee's athletics director. Before working at Tennessee, Gilbert served as associate athletics director at Alabama for 16 years.
Boo Corrigan (Army). The 1990 Notre Dame graduate has led Army's athletics teams since February 2011. During his time there, Corrigan has led successful fundraising efforts, and has spearheaded a set of marketing and rebranding campaigns. Recently, Army established a new agreement with Nike as its apparel partner, and has a new rights contract with Coke. At the start of his administrative career, Corrigan had a stint as an assistant director of marketing at FSU.
Martin Mayhew (Detriot Lions). A former FSU football player, Mayhew now serves as the Detroit Lions' executive vice president of football operations and general manager. He has now spent four seasons as the team's chief executive football decision-maker. Those decisions primarily include roster and personnel organization. Mayhew was a candidate the last time FSU had an athletics director search. After his experience at the NFL level, it's unclear if he would want to come to the college ranks. ... While at FSU in the late 1980s, Mayhew played football and ran track. He was selected in the 10th round of the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Magdi El Shahawy (Southern Cal). Another former FSU football player, El Shahawy was a letterwinner from 1986-89. He earned both his undergraduate and Master's degress from FSU. Currently, El Shahawy is the head of student-athlete academic services at USC. He has held that post since 2000. He's also a Sarasota native.
Wayne Hogan (Georgia Tech). A longtime former FSU administrator, Hogan spent more than 13 years in the university's sports information and communications departments. The Tallahassee native was even FSU's interim athletics director in 1994-95, just before Hart was selected to run the program. Like Mayhew, Hogan was part of the last search that produced Spetman's hiring as athletics director. Hogan currently is the associate athletics director for public relations at Georgia Tech.