Auburn on Friday introduced new AD Allen Greene, who “won’t be afraid to take risks,” according to Tom Green of AL.com. Greene said, “We want our people to be armed and equipped and feel comfortable taking some chances, some calculated risks and knowing that it's OK to fail, because when you fail, you learn. We want to be innovative as we move this athletics department and this university forward." Greene also noted the school's core values are "going to be bookended by the student-athlete experience and our quest for championships" (AL.com, 1/19). In Alabama, Josh Vitale notes Greene "does not inherit a clean slate" and will be tasked with dealing with an FBI investigation involving corruption connected to the men's basketball program. Greene said of dealing with the scandal, “I need to sit down and really get my hands dirty and understand what the situation is in its entirety, and then make some decisions based on that.” Though associate men's basketball coach Chuck Person, who was charged with federal corruption, is “no longer at the university, the fallout off the court is ongoing.” Also “under consideration” is the future of coach Bruce Pearl, whose job was “reportedly in jeopardy during the early part of the season because of his refusal to cooperate with the internal investigation" (OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS, 1/20). AL.com's James Crepea cited sources as saying that Auburn “had interest in UConn's David Benedict, Virginia Tech's Whit Babcock, Oregon's Rob Mullens and UCF's Danny White" for the AD job, but each "had reasons for not pursuing the position.” Recommendations for Greene “poured in from Penn State’s Sandy Barbour and Duke’s Kevin White,” as well as Danny White (AL.com, 1/19).
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE: USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken wrote Greene is “squarely in the spotlight at one of the nation’s most complex programs.” Greene made a “terrific impression” during his introduction. He “used all the right buzzwords, spoke elegantly and thoughtfully about becoming just the third African-American to head an SEC athletics department.” However, he is “about to inherit the most awkward situation in all of college sports.” Firing Pearl would be a “highly unpopular thing to do” (USATODAY.com, 1/19). AL.com’s Crepea noted Pearl has “still not met” with Auburn President Steven Leath formally regarding the FBI investigation. Leath said, “Bruce knows that my expectation is that sooner or later he's going to have to come in and talk to me and others on campus about what's going on in the program and we're moving towards a solution on that” (AL.com, 1/19). Meanwhile, SECCOUNTRY.com’s Justin Ferguson noted Greene is making a new standalone facility for Auburn football a “high priority in his tenure” (SECCOUNTRY.com, 1/19).
WELL WISHES: AL.com's Green noted outgoing Auburn AD Jay Jacobs "stayed out of the spotlight on Greene's big day, but Leath and Greene still went out of their way to show their gratitude." Under Jacobs, Auburn "posted the highest graduation success rate in program history." Jacobs -- who is "expected to earn $540,000 annually in state retirement funds -- will remain at Auburn as AD emeritus, a title he will share with his predecessor Davis Housel and a role that he said will not include compensation from the university" (AL.com, 1/20).