Fowler Friday – Horse is out of the barn

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 Fowler’s reign as head of North Carolina State University’s sports programs appear to be drawing to a close.

Several sources with ties to the university say Fowler, top university officials and the school’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 Fowler’s has manufactured an empty-suit role in private enterprise available for Fowler to ‘gracefully’ step to as he ‘choose’ to ‘retire’ 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.

As you can see from this document, “Parker Executive Search” of Atlanta (link) has been engaged to run the MSU AD search process.

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:

1. Parker Executive Search discussed by Vawolf82 in 2007 in regards to Lee Fowler not hiring a search firm in the hiring process to replace Herb Sendek.

2. Middle Tennessee State used Parker to hire Lee Fowler’s replacement in 2002!!!

“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.

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AD & Department

48 Responses to Fowler Friday – Horse is out of the barn

  1. TheAliasTroll 04/30/2010 at 12:27 PM #

    Julius Hodge for AD!!!

  2. Old MacDonald 04/30/2010 at 12:38 PM #

    The title should be “The Horse’s Ass is Out of the Barn.”

  3. TOBtime 04/30/2010 at 12:43 PM #

    Old McD, i just spit out the water. You are SO correct.

    Is this guy protected by everyone he ever ran across? And how in the heck can you run a business successfully and NOT recognize the dead weight that is Lee Foulup? Why is he un-fireable? Why all this “graceful exit” crap?

  4. Old MacDonald 04/30/2010 at 12:46 PM #

    ^ Because Oblinger extended his contract though 2013 I assume.

  5. wufpup76 04/30/2010 at 12:49 PM #

    Needs more Todd Turner …

  6. b 04/30/2010 at 12:51 PM #

    I’m inclined to look at a positive angle for this. For a school like MSU, with essentially NO tradition (other than ringing annoying loud cowbells during their annual SEC ass-whoopings), a Fuh-silly-ties man might be what they need. They may know Fowler for what he is and see it as an opportunity to setup their AD for a good director later after the building is done.

    Please take him, you’ll, uh…….love him. Honest.

  7. Scooter 04/30/2010 at 12:52 PM #

    As SFN noted a few weeks ago, Taylor Zarzour at 620 the Buzz may come out looking like a genius in the Triangle area if this all proves true. SFN commented that he took Lee Fowler to task on the first segment of his first show. Pretty bold, but apparently, he knew enough to know that it would be cool.

  8. Daily Update 04/30/2010 at 1:06 PM #

    Interesting MSU connection. Isn’t this firm the same one we used for another coaching search? I could have sworn a search firm in Atlanta was mentioned in regards to one of Fowler’s searches. It all makes sense now.

  9. StateFans 04/30/2010 at 1:11 PM #

    No. We used former Florida & Houston AD, Bill Carr. Also a personal friend of Fowler.

  10. choppack1 04/30/2010 at 1:11 PM #

    I don’t know if the search firm would be too willing to go above and beyond for him. Let’s face it, he didn’t give them business for his b’ball coaching search.

    I do imagine that they’d gladly collect some money to put him at a school that wanted him though.

  11. choppack1 04/30/2010 at 1:15 PM #

    One thing you guys mentioned – it’s actually HUGE that forcing Fowler out of Raleigh is being mentioned now. Like you say SFN – the horse is out of the proverbial barn.

    Think of Constanza when he does the “I quit” think and tries to play it off. Some things can’t be taken back – and these news releases will make our chancellor defend Fowler – and the data shows that he can’t really be defended UNLESS Woodson is going to let another cat out of the bag and say, “All he was asked to do by previous administration is keep the department in the black.”

    Obviously, his performance was under review and the new guy appears to be listening.

  12. Daily Update 04/30/2010 at 1:21 PM #

    I added a couple of links there about Parker and Fowler.

    MTSU used Parker Executive Search to replace Lee Fowler in 2002. Clearly there is a connection/friendship with Parker and Fowler.

    Sorry, I am not buying the MSU job as a viable opportunity for Fowler. Not going to happen.

  13. Daily Update 04/30/2010 at 1:28 PM #

    Statefans: I know at some point in time there was a firm in Atlanta mentioned in one of our searches. Maybe it was never hired on an official basis, but I think it makes sense that Fowler would have consulted with Parker as a professional contact.

  14. newt 04/30/2010 at 1:30 PM #

    Every time I hear some moron on the radio today running down State fans for our “irrational” expectations that are causing us to want Fowler to leave, I find myself wishing that we had an AD who would put forth an alternative point of view – that NC State is a great university, with great fans, that can compete at the highest level.

  15. choppack1 04/30/2010 at 1:58 PM #

    DU – I’m tempted to agree w/ you on the Miss State opening. If it was a possibility, that possibility is likely gone seeing as how there are legimate news articles pointing out our futility.

  16. Tampa-Pack 04/30/2010 at 2:00 PM #

    I knew something must be forthcoming, (though I thought it was just Fowler leaving in May)because there is no way the authors on this site would let his picture sit at the top of every page with the lights and the calendar if something wasn’t happening soon.

    I am impressed the SFN servers haven’t melted down with all this good news…

    GO PACK!

  17. Alpha Wolf 04/30/2010 at 2:19 PM #

    You can thank Brian Onorio for the efficient web design and JB for funding a real server that keeps this site running right. I had a hand in choosing it and I do maintain the software, and together we built it to withstand celebrations and meltdowns after big games.

    When we beat Duke last season, the server was incredibly busy – and it didn’t cough. Whether it can take an ACC Title, BCS game or Final Four appearance, I don’t know, but I sure as heck would like to find out.

    That may happen. The groundwork for two of those things happened this week (as we all know.)

    In the meantime — and I hate to ask this — click on an interesting ad or two and show your support. No one makes money off running SFN and we don’t ask for money, but looking at the ads does give support where it matter the most.

  18. DRW 04/30/2010 at 2:39 PM #

    ^I’ve clicked on several ads this week. If Fowler truly goes, who knows?

  19. PackisRolling 04/30/2010 at 2:45 PM #

    click on the Ally Bank ones a lot please.

  20. PoppaJohn 04/30/2010 at 3:07 PM #

    I think it’s a pseudo confirmation that no one has said anything that could be remotely interpreted as denying the rumors. Basically all we are hearing in print and radio is the same rumor and all we’re hearing from the school is ‘no comment.’

    Mr Chancellor – Welcome to Raleigh, and as a cast member from the the most famous NC based TV show used to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

    Next step, don’t promote from within and don’t bring someone from Purdue. Use whatever resources are necessary to find an AD that will make us proud on the national stage, who will have vision, someone with fierce desire and drive for excellence. Someone with proven experience at guiding a D1 Athletics Department to success in every area of endeavor.

    Show us what you’ve got!

  21. StateFans 04/30/2010 at 3:18 PM #

    Actually, I have recently confirmed that clicking on the ads doesn’t help us as much as the # of impressions & page views. So, feel free to hit refresh as often as you can. That’s the ticket 🙂

  22. Tampa-Pack 04/30/2010 at 3:28 PM #

    ^If that’s the case then great. During these periods of great news, I am constantly on the F5 key, always waiting for the latest update 🙂

  23. howlie 04/30/2010 at 4:14 PM #

    MORE on Parker, please. This is all very interesting.

  24. choppack1 04/30/2010 at 4:50 PM #

    Howlie – I think Parker would gladly serve as conduit if MSU was interested in his services. Remember, Fowler didn’t use his services for the b’ball search, so I kind of doubt they are buddy-buddy.

  25. Greywolf 04/30/2010 at 5:48 PM #

    “an AD that will make us proud on the national stage, who will have vision, someone with fierce desire and drive for excellence. Someone with proven experience at guiding a D1 Athletics Department to success in every area of endeavor.”

    Anybody got any idea what salary range this kind of AD commands? There are Offensive Coordinators making the kind of money we are paying our AD so it’s highly unlikely that $280,000 will land “someone with proven experience at guiding a D1 Athletics Department…”

    Would such an AD be willing to come to a school whose pay scale for coaches is considerably below its major rival. Would you, yourself, take a job that paid less than you were currently making to go to a different company, one that was known to pay lower wages for other managers than your competition?

    There will be chest-thumping when Fowler leaves but will there be a guaranteed successful AD taking his place? We will say that any AD is better than Fowler and we may be right about that.

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