Did Friction With Memphis President Cause Tom Bowen's Resignation?
Tom Bowen's decision to step down as Memphis AD was "inevitable" and "probably necessary," according to Mark Giannotto of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Bowen "didn’t like" that school President David Rudd "constantly meddled with the school’s athletics department." Meanwhile, Rudd "didn’t like that he constantly felt compelled to involve himself in the school’s athletics department." The friction between Bowen and Rudd had "gone on for too long, and the university's athletics department succeeded in spite of, not because of, it." Rudd is the one who "bucked industry norms by spearheading the hiring of Penny Hardaway, and it’s Rudd who oftentimes served as the de facto face of the athletics department with donors." Rudd always was "going to win this power struggle." His five-year stewardship of Memphis has "made him quite popular with fans, students and university power brokers alike." The next AD "needs to be someone who understands Rudd, and even Hardaway to a certain extent, are the driving forces" for the department. How long it "takes to find a permanent replacement remains to be seen" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/15).