I talked to a prominent Arizona State booster Thursday afternoon. This is what he had to say regarding the Sun Devils’ search for a new football coach: “I have no idea what’s going on.” Join the crowd, fella.
Over the past 48 hours, I have made at least 50 phone calls to boosters, coaches, agents and psychics. I paid $100 to a fortune teller. I called in favors and promised future favors.
I did everything but lock vice president of athletics Lisa Love in a room without food and water. Even then, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have cracked.
The woman should be in charge of the CIA rather than ASU’s athletic department.
Normally, coaching searches are about as secretive as Britney Spears’ personal life. An AD tells an employee, who tells a booster, who calls another booster, who posts it on a message board and pretty soon inquisitive sorts like myself are spilling the beans to the public.
The University of Alabama’s pursuit of West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez, for example, was the worst-kept secret in college football, to the extent that reporters were able to identify the New York hotel in which Rodriguez’s job interview took place.
As she did with basketball coach Herb Sendek, however, Love has done an extraordinary job of throwing the bloodhounds off the trail.
How well does she keep a secret?
ASU’s media relations office prepared press releases for six different coaches before it was informed that Sendek was fact and the other “candidates” were fiction.
I hate her for that.
Actually, I admire the way Love has gone about her business. I’d do the same thing if I were in her shoes.
Love’s methodology speaks to her self-confidence. It’s no secret that some of ASU’s prominent, old-school boosters questioned whether a woman who was in charge of women’s basketball and some minor sports at USC had the chops to handle the football program.
Love could have curried favor with the boosters by confiding in them as she searched for a new basketball coach and, now, a football coach.
Instead, she has kept to herself, informing only those who are on a need-to-know-basis, such as university president Michael Crow.
That’s frustrated some boosters to no end, but they should recognize in her silence an administrator who is less concerned with playing politics than she is with doing her job.
I don’t know if Love will make a wise choice in naming Dirk Koetter’s replacement. She pulled a rabbit out of her hat with Sendek, but she committed an expensive mistake by rewarding Koetter with a contract extension only to fire him less than a year later.
Sometimes, though, you get a sense of a person by their private actions as well as their public choices. And this is the mental picture I have of Love:
She’s smart and assertive. She will do what she wants, even if others are screaming in her ear. She may not always make the best decision, but she’ll rarely make a rash decision.
I’m praying this rabbit trail will soon come to an end. My cell phone bill is starting to look like the national deficit, and I dreamt the other day that I saw former Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis at the Arizona Biltmore, and he told me he was getting the job.
Yes, I need a vacation.
Hopefully, Love will take one soon, too.
Because she’s driving me crazy.