Look at potential AD successors

With Thursday's news that Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips is retiring when the school finds his successor, the search for Phillips' replacement has begun.

Terry Don Phillips

Phillips began his stint with Clemson in 2002 after what Clemson officials described as a “national search” for candidates. Some of the names mentioned in that search were: Bill D'Andrea, Associate Clemson Athletic Director, Eric Hyman of Texas Christian (now at Texas A&M after a stop at South Carolina), Jeff Long of Oklahoma, (now at Arkansas), Danny Morrison, commissioner of the Southern Conference (now President of the Carolina Panthers organization), Clint Bryant of Augusta State and Mike Alden of Missouri.

These candidates were on the rise in 2002 and most have continued to shine today. While some like Eric Hyman wouldn’t be a candidate (Hyman just accepted a position at Texas A&M), others like Danny Morrison or Clint Bryant could be considered for the position. Either way, it is in Clemson’s best interest to look nationally and include candidates with and without direct ties to Clemson.

Immediately after Phillips announced his intent to not seek a contract extension last month, a couple of names popped up on message boards and in athletic administration circles of possible candidates. At this point there is no indication a search has begun or even if Phillips will actually be replaced, but here’s a few names.

Danny Morrison: Morrison was a rumored candidate in 2002. He is a native of the Carolinas and has had successful tenures at Wofford, the Southern Conference, and TCU before being named President of the Carolina Panthers three years ago. Morrison would be an outstanding hire at Clemson, bringing successful outside experience coupled with his knowledge of college athletics in the southeast. Many would consider it a step down from president of an NFL team to being athletic director in the college ranks. Although the question will be if Clemson could or would be willing to match/increase the salary he is receiving from the Panthers.

Bill D’Andrea: As far as candidates go, no one knows Clemson better than D’Andrea. He has been with Clemson over 25 years in various roles with the athletic department. In 2002, former Clemson Athletic Director Bobby Robinson was quoted saying D’Andrea would be “groomed” to be an Athletic Director at some time, somewhere. His knowledge of Clemson is unmatched, but the question will be does he have enough outside experience to be to keep Clemson competitive in a rapidly changing college athletic landscape?

Mike Hamilton: Hamilton is the former athletic director at Tennessee. He currently works with a charity organization in Nashville, but has expressed interest in getting back into college athletics when the time is right. He left Knoxville under an ugly cloud after his blockbuster hires of Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl left town (Kiffin) or were fired (Pearl) amongst a wreckage of NCAA violations and fan heartburn. Hamilton is a Clemson graduate where he was a member of Alpha Phi Omega. Unfortunately, his NCAA baggage and sour ending at Tennessee may be enough to keep him low on the list of possible candidates.

Terry Holland: Holland is currently the Athletics Director and Executive Assistant to the Chancellor at East Carolina University. Holland is also known for his time at Virginia where he was both head men’s basketball coach and athletic director. Under Holland, Virginia became a top-notch contender in most non-revenue sports. He oversaw major renovations and upgrades to their facilities, including an $86 million upgrade to Scott Stadium. Today he is the athletic director at East Carolina, which is a football program on the rise. His scheduling policies have seen ECU compete against teams like Virginia Tech, North Carolina and N.C. State on a regular basis. He has also done TV analyst work for ESPN, making him a recognizable figure. If Clemson is looking for a visible leader, Holland may be a worthy choice.

Tom Jurich: Jurich is a California native who has spent the last 15 years at the helm of the Louisville Athletics Department. He was instrumental in the renovations and additions to Papa Johns Stadium as well as moving Louisville into a BCS conference. His hiring of Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino were brilliant moves and his most recent hire of Charlie Strong may also prove to be a success. Jurich has also been heavily involved with the effort to move Louisville to the Big 12 or ACC. If successful, it’ll just be another notch on the impressive belt he already wears. Jurich isn’t afraid to put himself and his school out there to secure their spot among the top dogs in college athletics. With college football still in realignment mode, Jurich may be an excellent candidate to see Clemson through the storm.

Until Clemson makes it official Terry Don Phillips won’t return at athletic director after 2013, this is all speculation. But for Clemson fans, this is a decision that will affect the direction of the athletics program for future generations. As we saw this summer with the speculation over realignment, any thing can change at any time.

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