Maybe some College of Charleston basketball fans just assumed Dan Shoemaker was already on the athletic department payroll. After all, the former ESPN executive was instrumental in founding the Charleston Classic, a fun made-for-TV November basketball tournament that made its debut at TD Arena in 2008.
C of C salaries
Selected College of Charleston athletic department salaries
Name Position Base salary
Doug Wojcik Head men's basketball coach $404,000
Joe Hull Director of Athletics $200,000
Natasha Adair Head women's basketball coach $129,000
Dan Shoemaker Director of Athletics Advancement $125,000
Monte Lee Head baseball coach $115,150
Laura Legeman Associate Athletic Director $98,000
Source: S.C. state salaries list from employees making over $50,000
He helped facilitate the hire of head basketball coach Doug Wojcik in April of 2012.
But it didn't become official until this Jan. 23 when Shoemaker joined the College of Charleston as Director of Athletics Advancement.
Base salary: $125,000 for a one-year job that technically is temporary.
"The primary thing that I'm looking for him to help me do is develop a range of relationships in the local business community," Director of Athletics Joe Hull said Friday. "We just don't do a good enough job in that area and haven't been able to put somebody on this to really start to work within the business community."
On paper, it's a logical decision. The College of Charleston added the acumen and contacts of ESPN's longtime Vice President of Collegiate Development. In today's TV-driven world of college athletics, that almost sounds like a coup.
But two months after the Shoemaker hire, there has been no official announcement, no triumphant news release.
As of late Friday, two months into his 12-month assignment, Shoemaker's name does not appear in the athletic department staff listing on the<URL destination="http://http://www.cofcsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=14800&ATCLID=714703"> College of Charleston website.
</URL>"We'll do all that stuff; Dan's just getting settled in," Hull said. "I probably should have made a bigger splash about it. We certainly will. I plan for him to be high-profile."
As with most major College of Charleston decisions these days - changing conferences, all things basketball - adding Shoemaker is likely to extend some fractures within a fan base longing for a return to the 1990s basketball glory years of John Kresse.
Most obviously, Shoemaker is attached to Hull, an athletic director who has made some excellent hires (including baseball coach Monte Lee, women's basketball coach Natasha Adair and a sharp young communications staff) but who remains unpopular in some fan circles.
Part of the reason for those mixed feelings among the fan base is Hull's hiring of Wojcik, who just suffered through the College of Charleston's second losing season since 1979. Wojcik, however, had to deal with injuries and a jump from the Southern Conference to the significantly tougher Colonial Athletic Association. The Cougars might have won a SoCon championship this season.
The position was advertised last summer, Hull said, though the "job that was advertised is a little bit different than what ended up happening."
Shoemaker's various connections to Wojcik - both are West Virginia natives - seem pretty cozy. Maybe that's a good thing.
The College of Charleston needs a uniting athletic department figure able to convince boosters, would-be donors, common fans, former fans and students that the athletic department generally and basketball specifically are headed in the right direction.
"Dan knows mid-major basketball," Hull said. "He and the folks at ESPN created the Bracket Buster thing that went on for many years. He has many relationships in this community. There's also a sense that having someone who has been involved with ESPN for 25 years gives us a level of gravitas.
"I think Dan's going to have fabulous conversations with people and make them feel good about being part of our program."
More than Monte Lee
College sports fans familiar with major college coaches getting seven-figure buyouts aren't likely to be dazzled by a $125,000 contract. But Shoemaker's salary does stick out at the College of Charleston. Wojcik ($404,000), Hull ($200,000) and Adair ($129,000) have larger base salaries, but head baseball coach Monte Lee ($115,150) and Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women's Administrator Laura Lageman ($98,000) do not, according to the state's <URL destination="http://http://transparency.sc.gov/BCB/transparency/BCB-state-salary-query.phtm?Agency=UNIVERSITY+OF+CHARLESTON&JobTitle=All&Surname=&f_submit=Submit">list of salaries for employees making more than $50,000.
</URL>"We need to create some new revenue streams and enhance some existing revenue streams, and we really feel like this is becoming a great business community in the Charleston market," Hull said. "But we don't have enough of a relationship, in a lot of cases. Dan's primary task is to build those relationships and try to approach the business in whatever way works for them to support College of Charleston athletics."
A very reasonable argument for Shoemaker.
Now one of the highest paid members of an athletic department in need of help must deal with the same scrutiny College of Charleston coaches get. In other words, he must earn his money.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff