There is a power vacuum at the state's military college with the Citadel's announcement Tuesday that athletic director Larry Leckonby is leaving for the same job at Catawba College
It's tempting to advise interested cadets and Spike The Bulldog to storm McAlister Field House, seize control and make some announcements of their own:
- Annual trips to Hawaii in all sports.
- Free boiled peanuts at home games.
- Lower prices for football tickets.
They might also install Fred Jordan as the new athletic director, but that wouldn't be such a radical move. It's too logical.
No one fits the gig better than the Citadel's accomplished and likeable baseball coach, 770-600 in 23 seasons after Tuesday's 10-7 victory over Elon in a Southern Conference tournament game at Riley Park.
Lt. Gen John Rosa, president of The Citadel, said Tuesday he plans to name a search committee to find the new AD. For the sake of diligence and diversity, this is necessary and good.
But no need to search from sea to shining sea and bring in 11 candidates for first-round interviews.
Jordan, 56, makes as much sense as South Carolina promoting Ray Tanner from baseball coach to AD in 2012. The jury is still out on Tanner's AD performance - he simply hasn't been on the job long enough - but so far, so good. The key: Surrounding Tanner (and Jordan) with veteran administrators good at counting beans.
Jordan declined to discuss the AD situation Tuesday after the Elon win.
"I haven't even thought about that," Jordan said. "I'm just worried about (Wednesday) and our game against Davidson. We'll see what happens after the season is over. I'm too busy right now to worry about that job."
Ray Tanner comparison
But Jordan said he has talked to Tanner about what it's like to transition from baseball coach to AD.
"Ray and I joke a great deal about it," Jordan said. "Ray's really enjoying what he's doing. And he's doing a marvelous job."
He cited Tanner's role in giving women's basketball head coach Dawn Staley a raise last off-season when Ohio State came calling with a tempting offer.
Jordan's on-field management ability starts with seven NCAA tournament appearances. All while dealing with the rise of strong in-state programs at the College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and Winthrop since Jordan, a Charleston native, replaced the late Chal Port at the Citadel.
No doubt, the Bulldogs underachieved this regular season. But the SoCon tournament isn't over yet.
Jordan excels in this area. Many of his former assistants have gone on to better things, including Dan McDonnell, who has guided Louisville to the College World Series twice.
Vital to the growth and popularity of a mid-major program, Jordan has aggressively brought top competition to The Joe.
New baseball candidates
Jordan knows enough of the right Citadel and Charleston people to get off to a good start with fundraising.
The Citadel is a unique place; most new athletic department employees need a few years to adjust. Jordan is a Citadel grad (class of 1979).
Of course. But Jordan is smart enough to learn and consult.
A former high school coach with many family ties to education, Jordan cares. He's a regular at non-baseball Citadel sporting events with a keen interest in college athletics around the state and Southern Conference.
Like Ray Tanner's hire of Chad Holbrook as baseball head coach, Jordan is likely to ace his first major decision - mostly because so many of Jordan's former players make good replacement candidates.
Tony Skole is in his 15th season at East Tennessee, where the Buccaneers in 2013 made the NCAA tournament. Chris Lemonis, Louisville's recruiting coordinator, is in his eighth season at the school. The Citadel staff includes longtime assistant David Beckley and former Major League pitcher Britt Reames.
Just to name a few.
That Jordan would have so many options is just another winning paragraph in a solid AD resume.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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