Surrounded by his wife and two young children, Kirby Hocutt announced he was taking the biggest plunge of his professional career. With his entire clan dressed in orange and green, he announced he was coming to the University of Miami.
“There was nothing more important than someone who can represent us in the way we always want to represent ourselves,” said university trustee Ron Stone, an advisor in the hire. “This young man here represents everything we want to stand for today and into the future.”
Hocutt spent more than two years at Ohio, becoming the youngest active athletic director in the country when he took the job in 2005. Before that, he served as an associate athletic director at Oklahoma University.
He’s known as a solid fund-raiser, increasing donations to Ohio by more than 75 percent and securing the second largest major gift in the school’s athletics history. At Oklahoma, he was largely responsible for a 400 percent increase in annual giving, one of the largest percentage increases in history.
”Kirby Hocutt is a proven leader, with the enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and commitment to our quest to be the top program in the country,” President Donna Shalala said. “We think he’s the perfect person for the job.”
Hocutt received criticism over a restructure of the athletic department, which led to the removal of three programs; women’s lacrosse, men’s swimming and diving and men’s track.
“The elimination of programs was absolutely the right decision at Ohio University,” Hocutt said. “It was right for the health of the department.”
Hocutt will officially take over the job on June 1, the date which Dee set as his retirement date. He leaves the position to spend more time teaching at UM. The gap between the hiring and the date is intentional.
“We wanted some overlap and an opportunity for Kirby to get to know the program,” Shalala said. “We want him to be able to hit the ground running.”
Hocutt now will face the challenges of moving football games to Dolphin Stadium and keeping the department’s “Sprint for Hurricane Athletics” program rolling. Despite the scope of the job, he seems eager for the challenge.
“The opportunity to be associated with the University of Miami is an honor and a privilege,” Hocutt said. “Everyone knows the winning tradition of the University of Miami. From coast to coast, when you see ‘The U,’ you know what it means.”
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.