Tennessee has contracted an Atlanta based firm named Parker Executive Search to replace Mike Hamilton as Athletic Director. Follow me beyond the jump to examine their previous hires, which could be describe generously as a "mixed bag".
NCAA baseball fans were shocked by Nebraska's promotion of former MLB player and one-year volunteer hitting coach Darren Erstad to the position of head coach after an 11 day search. Let me reiterate, a volunteer hitting coach of a team that batted .270(#233) was promoted to HC at Nebraska after a search of less than 2 weeks by Parker. This is front and center on the "athletics" page of the PES website. D- hire, simply because he hasn't failed yet.
Another recent hire of their's is Northern Illinois football coach Dave Doeren. From 2008-2009 he was the defensive coordinator for the Wisconsin Badgers and was picked up to replace Jerry Kill who moved on to be the next sacrificial lamb at Minnesota after a search lasting less than a week. This is my requisite mention of what appears to be an excellent hire, his two defenses at UW ranked #17 and #20 and were known for their discipline. B+ hire, likey to succeed in the MAC.
Former Clemson and Wyoming basketball coach, Larry Shyatt was brought back in to coach the Cowboys earlier this year after a month long search by PES. Wyoming isn't exactly a destination job(although I do believe it has more potential than nearly an other non-AQ team due to strong fan support) but no team of their stature should be hiring a sub .500 coach(89-93, one NIT appearance). D hire, he was OK at Wyoming.
PES has assisted North Carolina State in two recent searches. Both AD Debbie Yow and men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried were found by the search firm. Yow was the form AD at Maryland, St Louis University, and UNC-Greensboro. She developed a reputation for being difficult to work with and attempted to force Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams out for undisclosed reasons. The rumor is she wanted a coach of her own, and was becoming impatient as Williams had been there since 1989. During a press conference to announce the hiring of the next guy on our list, she puzzled onlookers by publicly denouncing Williams. Mark Gottfried is the former HC at Alabama and a well known SEC basketball broadcaster. He had a decidely average career while coaching the Tide. A .616 record, with 1 game over .500 in the SEC tells the story. He did make 5 NCA tournaments(all consecutive), one Elite Eight, and won 2 SEC West titles. Yow's hire receives an incomplete, as I'm hesitant tonjudge without knowing the Williams story. Gottfried gets a C-, the man had difficulty in the SEC West just qualifying for the postseason... the ACC is going to be nearly impossible for him and the was no excuse for a basketball program with the stature of NCSU to settle for anything other than a top tier coaching prospect.
Their biggest blunder has to be the infamous hire of Michael Haywood at Pitt. After only two weeks Haywood was arrestested for assaulting the mother of his 21-month old child and releases by Pittsburgh. His hire had already been met with hostility by hopeful Pitt fans due to an underwhelming record of 10-15 at Miami(Oh.) in only two seasons. Let me emphasize that Haywood was recommended for a BCS level job at a school with a national title after going 1-11 and 8-4 in the MAC and then beat up a woman tomget fired. Arguably the worst hire in my lifetime in any major NCAA sport was made by this firm. Pitt then declined additional assistance before hiring Don Treadwell. Haywood's hire results in a zero and a suggestion from the guidance counselor that PES be tested for brain damage.
With their near duplication of the Pitt situation with GT's AD it's entirely appropriate to ask what exactly they do. And what exactly is going on at Tennessee in regards to doing their due dillegence in finding advisors that actually do their job well. Seriously, they could pay me 1/100th of what PES is getting and there is a significant probability that I'd never screw up anything like they have repeatedly.