There is a lot that goes into being an athletic director of a Big 10 school, and Fred Glass will continue to do it all at the highest level until he retires at the end of the academic year.
Those who point to the mediocrity of the basketball program relative to expectations as a Glass failure miss the point of what an athletic director does and how well Glass does it.
Glass summed up his decade as AD pretty well in IU’s release, “I feel like we’ve rebuilt IU Athletics both culturally and physically. We have followed the rules. We are graduating our students at a record rate. Competitively, most of our programs are doing historically well, and the futures are bright for all of our sports. We are an athletic department nationally known for the holistic care and development of our students. We have had unprecedented success with fundraising and facility development.”
Nearly 1,000 student-athletes and their families trust that Glass will do everything necessary to keep them safe at IU while moving steadily toward their athletic potential and a degree. That is what matters most, and Glass has excelled at maintaining it as his highest priority.
The graduation rate for athletes has climbed from 77% when he took over to 91%. That may not sound like a lot to you, but that 14% represents one in every seven student-athletes – or roughly 28 extra graduates per year.
Facilities have taken a massive jump forward under Glass’s watch. Virtually every sports has opened a new or renovated stadium, arena, or course.
When Glass felt football players’ safety was at risk, he fired coach Kevin Wilson at the end of a bowl eligible regular season. He hired Tom Allen as the replacement. At the time, I was critical of Glass rushing through the process to install Allen, but this season proved Glass’s assessment of Allen as the right guy for the job to be accurate. Indiana Football has won eight games for the first time since 1993, and could win a ninth game for the first time in more than a half century.
The Hoosiers trip to the Gator Bowl will mark its first trip to Florida for a bowl – ever.
Glass earned my respect and affinity through his devotion to building a student oriented athletic department. There are so many responsibilities required by alums, donors, trustees, and the president that it’s easy to forget that university exists first for the students. Glass never lost that focus and always treated students the most meaningful measure of his work and legacy.
Whoever takes the reins of the department will have a much easier path too success than Glass did when he succeeded Rick Greenspan, who was overmatched by the responsibilities of the position. The transition from Glass will be comparatively seamless.
Candidates for the gig include former IU basketball player Chris Reynolds (currently the AD at Bradley), former IU football player Pat Kraft (currently the AD at Temple, and Scott Dolson (IU’s Deputy Director of Athletics for the entire Glass era).
I would expect current coaches to favor Dolson, as he is least likely to rock the boat by replacing them. Former basketball players will side with Reynolds because he is one of theirs. Former football players will want Kraft for the same reason.
Whoever gets the job will have a big golf cart to fill.