You need to accept that you will be doing a lot of reading today. It will be worth it.
You may have noticed that after we ran two long “Lee Fowler” entries in the middle of March, we made a strategic decision to not lead with any rumors or speculation on what we were hearing on the ‘Lee Fowler front’. For now, we will aim to continue with that strategy and will simply execute on ‘in-filling’, analyzing and commenting on what other media sources throw into public consciousness.
After we piggybacked WFNZ’s report last night with this key update, the first public acknowledgement from the ‘mainstream’ media of what we have recently been laying out on the blog and message boards in recent weeks hit the Triangle Business Journal in this article that has now been picked up at WRAL.
When you read it, you realize that the article really doesn’t offer a lot of new information or insight. It recites basic background of the Lee Fowler situation at NC State after sharing the first leak into the ‘mainstream’ of the rumors we have been sharing for a couple of months:
The days of Lee Fowlerâ€™s reign as head of North Carolina State Universityâ€™s sports programs appear to be drawing to a close.
Several sources with ties to the university say Fowler, top university officials and the schoolâ€™s board of trustees are working on a strategy that would end his decade-long tenure as athletics director. The sources say Fowler is being given time to find another position, should he choose to do so, at which time his departure from NCSU would be announced.
The article is particularly significant because it is a public acknowledgement of what was previously only (alleged) ‘rumor’ regarding Lee Fowler being pushed out at NC State. Think about this is a game of politics…and I think we can be happy and optimistic that things have evolved to a point where some trustees &/or others at the University have now decided it is the right time to leak this news and publicly step on the accelerator.
Allowing TBJ to throw this into the public consciousness and create pressure on Fowler is quite a step. TBJ doesn’t name sources. They don’t name specifics. What happened here is that people in the know chose today to give TBJ the greenlight to throw this out there.
IMHO, the horse is out of the barn. The fire is raging and the momentum for change is inevitable. There is no turning back.
Presuming that a change at NC State is imminent – gee…that sounds like a great message board thread that maybe someone should have posted almost two months ago – the question and focus turns to how will the change play out?
Currently, there appears to be two potential routes of departure for Lee Fowler:
(1) A manufactured job in local private industry that we highlighted last night:
Since we ran that entry in March, it has become almost common knowledge amongst many in/around Cary that a very wealthy and close personal friend of Fowlerâ€™s has manufactured an empty-suit role in private enterprise available for Fowler to â€˜gracefullyâ€™ step to as he â€˜chooseâ€™ to â€˜retireâ€™ from Athletics and NC State as he was excited and motivated for a new challenge and chapter in his career. (There is no reason to go deeper into this unless that ever becomes reality.)
(2) Mississippi State Athletics Directorship
A little more research into the Mississippi State opportunity yields some interesting information and makes me wonder how legitimate the opportunity could end up being for Fowler.
This link will take you the biography of Dan Parker, the managing partner of the firm:
Dan earned a Bachelor and Master’s degree from the University of Georgia and has been recognized for his dedicated and loyal service on the Executive Committee for the University of Georgia’s Alumni Association. He is a graduate of Brewton-Parker College, where he served as a trustee and was selected Alumni of the Year. Dan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2007 by Brewton-Parker College. Dan has also served as an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University.
Gee…Middle Tennessee State University? You mean, the same Middle Tennessee State University where Lee Fowler was Athletics Director before NC State? Wow! That is awfully coincidental?
Here are a couple of other Dan Parker/Lee Fowler links of interest:
“With the help of Dan Parker from Baker, Parker Executive Search Firm, a pool of over 50 applicants was identified, and those individuals were considered from a nationwide group of individuals.”
Dr. Sidney McPhee (led MTSU AD search)
This begs the question, is Dan Parker simply throwing a bone to his old buddy, Lee Fowler? Is Fowler really a viable candidate at MSU or has he just been able to position himself for another round of interviews through the good old boy network? We know that Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, San Diego State and a handful of other schools have passed on Fowler in the last decade. Is there any reason to think MSU will ultimately be any different?
We don’t have any answers. But, we will always be willing to ask the questions.