And just like that, the University of Miami is searching for another athletic director.
Not even 18 months into his stint at UM, Shawn Eichorst has resigned, midway through a compelling Hurricane football season and with NCAA sanctions looming for the program. Eichorst will fill the same position at Nebraska, as the school’s current AD – legendary football coach Tom Osborne – will retire Jan. 1.
Eichorst was hired at Miami after serving as chief operating officer for athletics at Wisconsin, where he oversaw a $90-million budget. His boss, Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, a Nebraska graduate, recommended Eichorst to UM President Donna E. Shalala.
Eichorst’s departure is an interesting development for the Miami athletic program. The departure of an AD during an NCAA investigation of a major benefits scandal does not help the Hurricanes, nor does it help Eichorst’s image – that of one bolting to avoid any pending sanctions. His loss will not have any effect on the NCAA’s ruling, but some element of stability would have been comforting.
Stability is another key storyline with Eichorst’s resignation. Miami will now have to look for its fourth AD in a little more than four years. Will any of our proven young coaches grow weary of the changes at the top? Katie Meier and Al Golden have shown that they are capable and worthy of receiving job offers from other top-tier schools. What if their relationship with a new AD becomes rocky, or if unstable leadership becomes an issue? It certainly would not encourage them to stay at the U.
Twitter was ripe with negative reaction Thursday morning as many local media personalities voiced their opinion on Eichorst’s resignation:
@BriantheBeastLondon (host, AllCanes Radio): Seriously…how do you do this during the biggest football week of the year.
@ByTimReynolds (local AP writer): He had no public persona here. It’s just a new headache. Big picture, it changes nothing. Sanctions coming either way.
@PapaCane (Popular UM athletics handle, founder of “The Greentree” Hurricane fan site): I was never a fan of Shawn Eichorst and found him to be awkward. Not a big loss whatsoever. UM needs to find a long term fit.
Eichorst did not give the media a second of his time the last few months, and was more of a behind-the-scenes athletic director. What is interesting now is the criteria Shalala and her search committee will try to meet with their new hire. Will they pursue someone with South Florida roots?
For more coverage of UM athletics and for breaking news, like The Miami Hurricane on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. AJ Ricketts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.