After only 18 months on the job, athletic director Shawn Eichorst left the University of Miami to become the athletic director for the University of Nebraska on Thursday, October 4, 2012.
Eichorst took over as athletic director after Kirby Hocutt left just two and a half years into the job to become the athletic director at Texas Tech. President Donna Shalala named senior associate AD Blake James acting athletic director. James served as the athletic director at the University of Maine from 2005 to 2010 and returned to the University of Miami in 2010, having previously worked at UM from 1995 to 1997, and then from 1998 to 2001.
Eichorst made his announcement only two days before the showdown with Notre Dame, which ended in a 41-3 thrashing by the Irish.
Not a great three-day span for UM.
At Nebraska, Eichorst will earn $973,000 annually, which is believed to be substantially more than he earned here at Miami. Eichorst said in a statement released by Nebraska, “I am humbled by both the responsibility and opportunities that lie ahead and I hope to carry on the rich tradition of Husker excellence set by Coach Osborne and so many others.”
President Shalala said in a statement: “I am deeply disappointed in Shawn’s departure to the University of Nebraska as I thoroughly enjoyed working with him. We wish Shawn and his wonderful family the very best at their new post.”
Four months after Miami hired Eichorst in April 2011, news of possible NCAA violations involving Hurricanes booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro emerged. The NCAA is expected to announce the penalties for these violations within the year.
In his time at Miami, Eichorst scantly spoke to the local media. James, on the other hand, appears to be more inclined to make himself available to the public. He has launched a weekly “Ask The AD” Q&A session via Twitter at @CanesAllAccess where fans can submit questions using the #AskBlake hashtag.
“There’s challenges in every one of these jobs,” James said from Chicago, where he was watching the Miami-Notre Dame football game. “Everyone has challenges; you just address things and you move forward. … I know I’m ready for the challenge and I was honored to take it on and I’ll continue to carry the baton as long as they want me to be that person doing it.”
Whether James is the right man for the job is yet to be seen, but the Hurricanes could use some stability in their front office.
From 1993 till 2008, the late Paul Dee held the position of athletic director at UM; James is the third athletic director for UM since Dee left just four years ago. While stability in the office of athletic director does not directly correlate to success, instability generally leads to failure.
In regards to the vacant athletic director position, UM spokesperson Margot Winick announced Wednesday: “The University of Miami has not started a search.”
Miami is hamstringed by the NCAA until its investigation is over in finding a new athletic director. As UM trustee Art Hertz said Wednesday, “What guy is going to cast his future without knowing exactly what the situation is and how deep the hole is?”
For the first time since the Jimmy Carter administration, the Hurricanes have not won a bowl game in five seasons. And any sanctions the NCAA hands down will only elongate this irksome streak. Here’s to hoping James or whomever the University of Miami hires will bring this team some much-needed stability.
words_mark singer. photo_courtesy of hurricanesports.com.