Rose took on coaching search by herself
Judy Rose actually did her job.
These days, that’s become a novel concept in the world of athletic directors.
In an age when more ADs continue to turn to search firms in an effort to protect themselves and essentially do their jobs for them, Rose, who has been the AD at Charlotte since 1990, spearheaded the search for a new basketball coach.
Sure, Rose enlisted some help.
"I talked to a lot of people, but Mike Ellis and Dave Telep were two people that I really leaned on the most,” Rose admitted.
And the best part?
She didn’t even have to fork over a check for $75,000 to someone like Dan Parker — he of the Billy Gillispie hiring at Kentucky or of the Kelvin Sampson hire at Indiana.
Rose did her due diligence and ultimately made a decision.
Sure, she spoke to guys like Ellis, who has spearheaded the Villa 7 Consortium — which brings together many of the elite assistant coaches in the country — and Telep, the veteran recruiting guru who is as plugged into the coaching landscape as just about anyone in the nation.
Without Villa 7, Marquette’s Buzz Williams never would have gotten his first head coaching gig at New Orleans.
"It’s what they know,” Williams said of the program’s connection with coaches. "There’s no politics involved, no political investment.”
"They know these coaches,” Rose added. "And I knew they weren’t going to lead me astray.”
Rose also talked to C.M. Newton, the former Kentucky athletic director who remains involved in college basketball, and Dave Gavitt, who used to run the Big East.
But she didn’t have to take another penny from the university’s pocketbook.
I comprehend there are some high-profile jobs out there that may need a search firm for deniability reasons. That way the athletic director doesn’t have to flat-out lie when asked if he spoke to a specific candidate after being spurned.
"No, I never spoke to him,” they say.
And they aren’t fibbing because it was the search firm that was involved in the communication.
But Rose didn’t care about being rejected.
Rose’s résumé is impressive. She was just the third woman to be put in charge of a Division I program when she was hired in 1990.
She also became the first female to serve on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee during her five-year appointment, which began in 1999.
She attended the Villa 7 — where she was able to address many of the top women’s basketball assistant coaches and interact with many of the elite men’s assistants.
That way, when she made a coaching change — which she did in the middle of March when she fired Bobby Lutz — she already had an idea of which direction she was heading.
Rose knew she wanted an assistant coach with a high-energy level. A risk-taker.
"Our program wasn’t broke,” Rose said. "It just wasn’t where it needed to be.”
"I think we’re one of the best-kept secrets,” she added. "And I don’t want us to be that.”
Rose brought out her file (one that every athletic director should have) and went through the candidates. It began with about 15 names and was eventually whittled down to a handful of highly regarded assistant coaches that she spent countless time talking to and about.
Kansas’ Joe Dooley, the early leader.
Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins, who is set to get the Orange head gig once Jim Boeheim retires. No one had even thought to go after this rising star until Rose made a legitimate run at him.
Xavier’s Pat Kelsey, who knows the area well from his stint at Wake Forest.
Texas’ Russell Springmann, who helped the Longhorns bring in Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin.
And Ohio State assistant Alan Major, who ultimately got the job.
Major is far from a household name, but talk to anyone in the business and they rave about him and his future. He’s worked for a trio of pretty impressive guys in Thad Matta, Bruce Weber and Mike Dunlap.
"There’s a sense of basketball maturity with him,” Rose said. "He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he’s a guy who what he says has so much value that you hang in to hear the rest of the sentence.”
"Is Alan the perfect fit for us?” Rose added. "I think he is — and that’s nothing against the other candidates.”
"He’s a guy who's really worked his way up through hard work,” Weber said of Major. "He’s earned it.”
Rose estimates that she spent about 10 hours per day for a month straight working on the search, and that she invested about a dozen hours talking solely to and about Major before pulling the trigger.
And she did it all without a search firm.
Said Rose, "I view it as it’s my job to hire people.”
What a novel concept.