From the Big Green Alert Blog:

“You had me at hello.”

That memorable line from Jerry Maguire – ironically a football movie – came to mind during Tuesday’s media gathering introducing Harry Sheehy as Dartmouth’s new director of athletics.

Frank Sinatra never worked a room any better than Sheehy did the smart classroom at Floren Varsity House as the former AD at Williams hit all the right notes after being introduced by Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim.

Say what you will about Sheehy, but he is a charmer. If Sheehy wants you to like him, you will.

“She [Connie] said something that was very insightful and helped me actually sort through all this. And that was, ‘Harry, if you have an opportunity to work for a man like President Kim and you don’t take it, then shame on you.’ ”

No offense to you Adam Falk! Now, we all say nice things about the boss when we start a new job, but isn’t this a little unctuous?

“First of all is the challenge. There’s a wonderful challenge here. It’s a great institution. President Kim has such a nice, clear and concise vision for what this can be and how this piece of athletics can fit into the entire education along with physical education and recreation. And the general idea of a student body that leaves Dartmouth understanding fitness and what fitness is going to mean to their lives. …

Hmmm. There was no greater champion of varsity athletics at Williams than Harry Sheehy. But physical education? Recreation? Club sports? Not so much. Mike Needham ’04 owes EphBlog a post. Tell us the story of how Harry tried to screw over intramural sports at Williams to get his turf field. The Record archives are now easily linkable . . .

“The tradition. I am leaving an institution that has an unbelievable athletic tradition and I am arriving at an institution that has an unbelievable athletic tradition. I like tradition. I told the coaches today, ‘Tradition never graduates. But unfortunately good players do.’ And so we need to continue to find really fine players that are going to wear green jerseys for us.

Recruitment is the curse of Dartmouth athletics. An expert on elite college athletics wrote me before Sheehy’s name was announced but after I had head a rumor:

I wouldn’t think they’d hire Sheehy over the 2 alums or Gavitt (son of Dave Gavitt wo coached basketball there and went on to commissioner of the Big East)…….can’t think of a NESCAC A.D. who got a similar position in the IVY. They usually go for name recognition, D I major associate A.D., alum or minority/woman. Old school Dartmouth people weren’t happy with the last version . . . so they definitely won’t go that route this time around. Of course, it would depend on who is making the decision and which candidate has the closest ties to that person…….purely a political/economic appointment

just as GE CEO Jeff Immelt did with the Dartmouth football search (played at Dartmouth with Teevens), the money people will have strong influence on who gets the position. Not a good job as there is no way football or basketball can win there with the academic index (alums don’t understand that) as Dartmouth is 4th in the league in academic prestige (obviously behind H,Y,P) and can’t go as low academically as Penn, Cornell, Brown and Columbia. Before the advent of the A.I., Dartmouth, with more IVY football championships than any other school, would just take more low academic kids……can’t do that anymore. That fact, couple with a close to zero yield rate vs H,Y,P, pretty much insures them 2nd division status in football and basketball

How is Sheehy going to “find really fine players” if he always loses cross-admits to HYP and can’t go as low in grades/scores as Penn, Cornell, Brown and Columbia? I don’t know. Informed commentary welcome. Back to Big Green Alert:

President Kim was effusive in his praise of the new AD.

“I think if you were to sit down and try to write on a piece of paper all the qualities that you would want in the next Dartmouth athletic director you would be hard-pressed to come up with a list of accomplishments that (is) as long and distinguished as those of Harry Sheehy,” he said. “I spoke with President (Morton) Schapiro of Northwestern, who was president at Williams for most of the time that Harry was athletic director. And he said that he had never known anyone who could possibly have been as good as Harry at being athletic director. He told me the one thing he misses in Chicago is going from game to game with Harry on weekends.”

The “one thing?” Say it ain’t so Morty! Comments:

1) Keep in touch with your old bosses, even if you are not planning on looking for a job. You never know when something will happen. I would not be surprised if effusive praise from Morty sealed the deal for Sheehy in Kim’s eyes.

2) What did Morty really say? Here is my guess:

When I first came to Williams, preferences for athletes in admissions was out of control, generating all sorts of bad outcomes. Sheehy was already AD and so I had no choice but to work with him. And doing so was a pleasure! Once I made it clear that reducing preferences — making the academic profile of athletes much more similar to those on non-athletes — was a high priority for me, Harry helped me. He didn’t have to do that. He could have fought and stalled. But he recognized that the decision was mine as president. If you are looking for an Athletic Director who will defer to you on major policy issues, then Harry is your man.

Again, I think that President Kim had certain priorities in mind when he picked Sheehy. I suspect he will be pleased with the result.

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