SBD/June 7, 2013/Colleges

Hermann Meets With Major Donors For First Time, Gets Relatively Positive Reviews

Hermann's presentation made a good impression with some boosters

Incoming Rutgers AD Julie Hermann at a dinner on Thursday met “for the first time with some major donors” on the heels of the controversy that broke out over her hiring, and after doing so, she “called Thursday night a start," according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Hermann, who officially starts June 17, said, "It’s all forward motion from this point on. I can’t look back." More than two dozen people attended the 3 1/2-hour dinner, including several school officials, athletic boosters and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. RU football season-ticket holder Don Musso, who attended the event, said, "I give her a lot of credit for standing up there Thursday night and facing us all down, telling us what she was going to do and asking us to be a part of it. The biggest thing is that she started the healing process." Luicci notes Hermann "seemed to strike a chord with a dozen or so boosters given their first chance to meet with her." RU booster Pete Hendricks said, "I was very impressed with her presentation, her presence and the objectives she wants to achieve" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/7).

NEW STRATEGY? N.Y.-based 5WPR Founder & CEO Ronn Torossian said Hermann's press conference on Wednesday was "awful -- simply a disaster to be blunt. Julie Hermann seems to be completely unaware that she is now in the big league of professional sports. Both Hermann and Rutgers seem to be completely oblivious to the firestorm they are currently facing." Torossian: "They need to play up the fact that there is a woman in this role -- and the PR agency should humanize her and make her more likeable. From a stylist to media training, all these things should happen before she formally starts" (N.Y. POST, 6/7).

BIG TEN COMMANDMENTS: Delany, who met with Hermann for 90 minutes in N.Y. on Wednesday, said he is "hopeful" RU can move past the controversy and focus more on its move to the Big Ten. He added, "I’m very hopeful that she can rally the troops and that people can pull together and take advantage of the Big Ten opportunity. I think right now because of the controversy there has been no focus on the transition (to the Big Ten) except for what we’re doing, and all of the public focus has been on what I would describe as personnel matters, dating back months. I’m optimistic but I’m realistic about the fact that they (the past issues) will probably be around here for a while so we’ll have to sort of wait our turn to build up relationships, to make friends -- because so much of the focus now is on personnel matters. That is something I have no control over" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/7).

SEARCH ENGINES: USA TODAY's Schrotenboer & Axon wrote under the header, "Search Firms Come Under Scrutiny After Rutgers Flap." Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search's website indicated that it has "assisted in filling 12 executive positions with the NCAA in recent years." Parker has "built a booming business in college sports," including assisting RU in its AD search last month. The company "is not alone, as many executive search firms have tapped into college sports in recent years." When a search firm "succeeds, matches are made, and long-term working relationships develop," but when it does not, "questionable hires, wasteful spending and accusations of search firms serving as the equivalent of smoke-filled private clubs, where insiders try to curry favor with kingmakers, occur" (USATODAY.com, 6/6). Florida State Univ. President Eric Barron, after reassigning AD Randy Spetman this week, said that the school "also plans to hire a search firm." He said there is "great wisdom" in using a search firm. Barron said that he is "hoping to employ a diverse cross-section of the campus" on the search committee. In Orlando, Coley Harvey notes athletes, administrators, boosters, trustees and coaches are "expected to collaborate on the search" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/7).
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