Nobody can do USM job if fans don't unite
Posted on: June 20,2013
Southern Miss president Rodney Bennett Wednesday announced he will not retain Jeff Hammond as athletic director. A national search, aided by the venerable Vince Dooley, will begin immediately.
Here’s what I think about that:
No. 1: I really like Jeff Hammond. I covered him when he played quarterback and led USM to victories over Auburn, State and Ole Miss in one season. I did several pieces on him during his military career. I know he loves USM.
No. 2: Bennett, whom I have met only briefly but have admired from afar, is the university CEO and has the right to surround himself with the people he believes will serve USM best on his management team. Bennett made this decision after meeting individually with each and every coach. I can’t imagine it was an easy decision.
No. 3: I grew up USM, have covered it most of my professional life. I know something about it. And I have never seen the alumni and fan base as fractured as they have been these last few years. Indeed, many bemoan Bennett’s decision, while others rejoice.
No. 4: Whomever takes the job has no chance — none, nada, null set, zero — unless alumni and fans unite behind him or her. The job is difficult enough when everybody is going in the same direction. It’s impossible when they are not.
No. 5: USM is fortunate to have Jeremy McClain in place in the interim. He learned from good people at Delta State. He will is smart, principled and will do a good job.
No. 6: Repeat No. 4.
No. 7: Repeat No. 6.
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