It’s been 380 days since St. John’s University has had an official Athletic Director, since Chris Monasch resigned after ten years, serving as the school’s fifth AD. (It’s been 413 days since the announcement, if you’re wondering.)
The University is looking for the next leader in the athletic department, announcing a new interim Athletic Director - and a search committee for find the next AD.
Kathy Meehan, an Associate Vice President for Athletics, was named interim AD starting August 1st, 2016. General Counsel Joseph Oliva had been serving as interim Athletics Director since the previous AD left. A six-member search committee - including member of Board of Governors and frequent St. John’s men’s basketball TV announcer Tarik Turner - will begin the search for a new leader to shape the vision of the athletics department.
Last year, after Monasch’s departure, St. John’s alum and NBA front office executive Pete D’Alessandro was rumored to be a candidate... but those rumors fizzled out, and he moved on to work with the Denver Nuggets. (D’Alessandro had worked with Chris Mullin in two NBA organizations.)
This year, will the school look internally? Only at alums? Or will the search branch out far and wide? (You too can apply.)
The Athletic Director is often in a precarious place in the athletics structure. Tasked with improvements and oversight, the AD is a less powerful and less public figure than the highest profile head coaches. But the AD also has to have the skill to work behind the scenes and manage the hiring and firing of coaches, search for ways to fundraise for and expand/ update facilities, while also managing sponsorship deals and NCAA compliance. And while doing that, the AD has to be publicly above reproach, as Julie Hermann and Damon Evans - along with the Johnnies’ Chris Monasch and others - have learned.
NOT having an AD hasn’t harmed St. John’s visibly in the last year; the head coaches were already hired, no feasible large-scale facility upgrades are on the horizon, Under Armour has a deal in place to outfit the teams and no Red Storm team found itself embroiled in small or large scandals.
But the future in a Big East that is getting tougher, with the prospect of changes to compensation for college athletes, with a possible bubble looming in terms of sports rights and exposure, leadership that can look to the future while being respectful to St. John’s past is needed.
Your thoughts? If you were applying to be AD, what would your platform be?