Just two years after being named UConn’s athletic director, Warde Manuel has been linked to the soon-to-be vacant AD’s job at Virginia Tech.
A user posting on a website devoted to conversation and coverage of Hokies athletics – thekeyplay.com – said Tuesday night Manuel was on a list of six candidates for the job, along with Chris Plonsky Texas Women’s Director of Athletics, Michael Kelly Chief Operating Officer at College Football Playoff, Whit Babcock University of Cincinnati AD, Jeff Bourne JMU AD, and John Ballein, a VT football administrator.
The report comes from Greg Roberts, a radio personality for WFIR in Virginia. Here is a link to his radio report. Fast forward to the 33-minute mark.
Todd Turner, a former UConn athletic director who has also served in that position in the ACC, SEC and Pac12, is assisting Virginia Tech in its search
Turner founded and runs College Sports Associates, a consulting and executive search firm which since 2010 has been in business helping looking to fill coaches and administrative positions.
Search firms essentially connect schools like headhunters, identifying potential candidates and then trying to work behind the scenes to make matches happen,
Jim Weaver, 68, who has been the Hokies’ AD for 16 years, is retiring at year’s end. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nine years ago and has struggled since with chronic back and hip pain.
Retiring Virginia Tech president Charles Steger has told Virginia media he hopes to have a new AD in place by February. He has has appointed a search committee of a dozen.
Manuel, a 1990 graduate of Michigan, where he played both football and track and field, came to UConn from the University at Buffalo, for whom he served as AD six years. He has been at the center of many projects at UConn, successfully helping to navigate fundraising that is financing the construction of the new basketball facility and the hiring of new hockey, men’s basketball and football coaches.
However, UConn is in the midst of an uncertain athletic future as a charter member of the American Athletic Conference after being rejected by the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hokies, a staunch football powerhouse that produced players like Michael Vick, is in the ACC and remains a key player in the world of college athletics.
Manuel is considered a rising administrative star, one who helped Buffalo gain its footing, particularly academically. When he arrived at UB, four programs – football, men’s basketball, wrestling, and baseball – that fell far below the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) cut score of 925.
By the end of 2009-10. all four teams posted a four-year APR rate above the cut score. He has faced the same challenge at UConn where the academic standing of its men’s basketball team led to its exclusion from postseason play last season.
Manuel signed a five-year contract with UConn, with the option for a two-year extension at the discretion of the university. He is paid a base salary of $450,000 a year and has been eligible for a $100,000 performance incentive annually if certain academic and athletic goals are achieved and is eligible for $100,000 in deferred compensation to be awarded at the conclusion of his five-year contract.
Listen, I have no idea how the internal workings of athletic department searches proceed. I cover a team that hasn’t had to hire a new coach in 29 years and likely won’t be anytime soon. I wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to look for a situation more in gear with his long-term career goals. But consider me the messenger here and take this information for what it is.
Here is the reference….
According to Greg Roberts the AD finalists are….
Chris Plonsky Texas Women’s Director of Athletics, Warde Manuel UConn AD, Michael Kelly Chief Operating Officer at College Football Playoff, Whit Babcock University of Cincinnati AD, Jeff Bourne JMU AD, and John Ballein. Very disappointing list to me other than Babcock and maybe Manuel. But then again, who the heck is Greg Roberts? Doubt he really has access behind the scenes.