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Kolpack: NDSU AD search committee sifting through resumes

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Kolpack: NDSU AD search committee sifting through resumes
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

FARGO — The search committee that is given the task of narrowing the field for the position of athletic director at North Dakota State has a massive task if it wants to fact-check every item on the seven resumes. Remember that stipulation coming out of college where you want to keep everything to one page?

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It’s another example of why I’m continually stuck in the ‘80s listening to New Order and the Replacements and watching the “Wall Street” DVD because, in the world of applying for athletic director, more is more. Have a dollar figure to a task? Put it on there. Raised $40,000 for a new shed by the football practice field? Put it on one of the 29 bullet points.

It almost reached the point where I swear one candidate just stopped short of listing the time he supervised four dogs and an ornery cat one weekend while the neighborhood families were away on a canoe trip.

I haven’t updated my resume since 1990, but I’m pretty sure I’d have a difficult time filling a page or two without embellishing every certificate, plaque or fifth-grade intercity track ribbon. Rick Hartzell, the former athletic director at Northern Iowa, filled eight pages. Looking at the resume of Troy Goergen, the NDSU senior associate athletic director, I’m questioning if he ever took a vacation.

Everybody has worked closely, led, supervised, raised, managed, identified, served, met, provided, planned, implemented, reviewed, determined, coordinated or generated something. Millions of dollars are thrown on these resumes like they’re 10 bucks to most of you and me.

The paper trail got these seven to this point, but from here on out, I would recommend this to the committee: Check the facts for accuracy, and then forget about the resumes.

It’s all about the voice-to-voice, face-to-face interaction now because the good athletic directors do not sit in their corner office buried in paperwork.

They palm press the heavy hitters. They raise money at a moment’s notice, whether running into a big donor at a restaurant or in the lobby of the Fargodome before a football game. They put out fires. The good ones think on their feet because in athletics, the athletic director doesn’t punch in at 8 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m.

They run the department, but they don’t run their employees’ lives. In other words, they don’t micro-manage. Over the years, that’s a big positive I heard about Gene Taylor and the evidence is obvious: Hardly anybody left the department unless they got a better position somewhere else.

Goergen has been at NDSU since 1999 for a reason: he presumably likes it here. You look at the employees in the Bison athletic department, and most are in double-digit years in time spent there.

To whittle the seven to two or three finalists based on their resumes is not the way to go, although there should be an emphasis on success in running a football program. I would suggest to the next athletic director that making sure football succeeds would make life easier on everybody. Especially you.

Let me summarize and put all of this in a simple context: The real diligent work for the committee starts now. Anybody, even me, can look good on a resume.

The tough work is truly looking into the background of these seven candidates and talking to people who they necessarily don’t want you talking to. In my business, it’s called investigative reporting.

Taylor wasn’t perfect. He had his moments of being too emotional, but the NDSU president would do well to hire somebody like him. The committee, and this certainly isn’t breaking news to its members, needs to identify that person.

Meanwhile, whoever borrowed my “Risky Business” DVD, please return it.

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