Related Stories Watch: Daniel French and Rick Burton discuss hiring John Wildhack as Director of Athletics8 things to know about new Syracuse Director of Athletics John WildhackStorify: Syracuse community reacts to Syracuse naming John Wildhack its new ADStorify: ESPN employees react to Syracuse hiring John Wildhack as new ADSyracuse University hires former ESPN exec John Wildhack as new Director of Athletics Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on July 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm Contact Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org | @ChrisLibonati Following the announcement of Syracuse’s new Director of Athletics John Wildhack, interim AD Daniel French and Rick Burton, Syracuse’s liaison to the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference, spoke about the hire. Here are five things they said. 1. Working at ESPN was a big factor in hiring WildhackWhile Wildhack may not have been on Syracuse’s side of the negotiating table at ESPN, he was negotiating media rights contracts for ‘The Worldwide Leader in Sports.’ That seemed to be a big selling point in his hire, since television contracts play a significant role in college athletics.“The job of an athletic director is a complicated job, it’s not just about who we play and when we play ’em and who the coaches are,” French said. “… Dealing with the media, dealing with television rights, all the things that John has done over his career, we think that’s the exact kind of leadership we need right now.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBurton said if an ACC Network (in a similar fashion to the SEC Network or Big Ten Network) came together, Wildhack would be an asset.2. Loyalty was a factorWhen Mark Coyle bolted for Minnesota, there were murmurs from the Syracuse community that SU should hire an “SU guy.” That’s exactly what Wildhack is: He grew up in Buffalo, New York and graduated from the university in 1980.“The chancellor was clear that it was always important,” French said, “… It was certainly a point that we were cognizant about, but it was not the deciding factor. It’s a strong factor for John … it was one of many factors.”Wildhack has served on the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics advisory board. Despite graduating from Syracuse 36 years ago, he has been involved with the university in that span.Given that Wildhack left ESPN at the time he did, Burton believes this is where Wildhack wants to be. Burton said he believes Wildhack will be at SU until the end of his business career.3. Syracuse wanted a swift processFrench reiterated that there was a winnowing process for choosing SU’s next athletic director. They reviewed resumes, cut the pool to people SU would interview and then cut the pool further into finalists.“(Chancellor Kent Syverud) indicated he wanted to move quickly. We knew there was a lot of talent out there. I think at the time I said we thought we’d look at 15-20 people. We’d narrow that down to five or six. That’s what we did … The process moved quickly, though. The chancellor led the search.”4. There’s a first time for everythingDespite his experience at ESPN, Wildhack has never been an athletic director anywhere before coming to Syracuse. French cited other schools who have hired first-time athletic directors, including Notre Dame and Alabama.French was also confident in the support group Wildhack will have when he enters the job in August.5. Started from the bottom, now he’s hereWildhack started his career at ESPN as a production assistant, working his way through the company during the last 36 years. The company has won more than 30 Emmy Awards in Wildhack’s time there.Burton cited George Bodenheimer, who started in the mail room, as another ESPN executive who started with the company from its early stages. Comments
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