UConn Finds "The Perfect Fit" In New AD Warde Manuel
Univ. of Connecticut President Susan Herbst "gushed over the new guy" yesterday during AD Warde Manuel's introductory press conference, according to Desmond Conner of the HARTFORD COURANT. Herbst said, "Simply put, here's your lead: This guy's a rock star and UConn got him. Our priorities are his priorities -- academics, compliance, philanthropy and needless to say we like to win. A great university can't settle for less than the best in all things, including athletics, and in Warde we got the best." Manuel said, "UConn is home to 22 different sports, consistently wins Big East and conference championships, consistently competes and wins national championships. A low (Academic Progress Rate) from two years ago doesn't define a program, an athletic department or a university. It's a hurdle, not a mountain." Manuel is from Framingham, Mass., and "emerged from a pool of about 50 that was whittled to eight." Manuel gets a five-year deal worth $450,000 annually with a two-year option "at the discretion of the school." USA Today data indicates that as Univ. of Buffalo AD, Manuel made $394,580. Herbst: "I'll tell you when he walks in he's an unbelievable presence, charismatic, funny, warm. The minute he starts talking he's really engaging and this happens when you see the one for you, you know? You just know it's right. He knocked it out of the park." Men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun said, "He seems like the perfect fit for us -- someone who is going to help lead us into the future" (HARTFORD COURANT, 2/14). Meanwhile, Manuel said of the Big East's stability, "There has not been a sense that the Big East is not stable. I think [Big East Commissioner John Marinatto] is making some moves to stabilize the conference. I don't think anybody feels it's going to fall apart" (ESPN.com, 2/13).