USF’s New AD Experiences First Challenge

Doug Woolard, USF’s highly regarded, new athletic director, has a formidable set of challenges awaiting him. The former AD at Saint Louis University will oversee USF’s transition from Conference USA to the Big East. He will have to manage an athletic budget that needs ratcheting up. He will take the hit if the Bulls’ basketball program isn’t exhumed. He will ultimately answer for oxymoronic “student-athletes.” And more.

But here’s something he can address — and correct — right away. Seeing to it that on matters athletic the University speaks with one voice. It didn’t when it hired Woolard.

A vice president and a spokeswoman weren’t on the same page when announcing Woolard’s hiring in the context of matters relating to the other finalist, Jon Oliver. At issue, among others, was whether Oliver had received a contractual “draft” or “offer” before Woolard received his offer. The result: The heralding of his hiring was awkwardly undercut by media references to Woolard as USF’s “second choice.” Addressing that kind of embarrassing snafu should be Woolard’s first order of business.

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