Yesterday, Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers announced his retirement effective May 31, 2011. There's more than a handful of articles about his retirement: LAJ's Don Williams, LAJ's Courtney Linehan, LAJ's Adam Zuvanich, DT's Jose Rodriguez and DMN's Kevin Sherrington.
I'm torn about this. I've said it before that I have no doubt that Myers loved this university and the fact that he gave 55 years of his life to this university is a testament to his dedication to Texas Tech. I absolutely have no doubt about that. I also believe that given the circumstances when Myers took the job, the athletic department is in a better place as a result, as almost all of the facilities have either been improved, renovated or built during his tenure. I have no doubt that in this current climate of conference realignment, there's no doubt that facilities will play a huge part of where a particular university might end up. The baseball facilities need upgrading and that's on the list.
Typically, the question at the end of a person's tenure, whether or not it's an athletic program or company, to ask is whether or not said athletic program or company is better off during that person's tenure. I don't have the time to write about each and every sport, but without a doubt the cash-cow that probably helped build all of those facilities mentioned above, the football program is better now than when Myers started. Myers deserves credit for hiring a guy like Mike Leach and Myers looked past the quirky and strange and even after establishing himself as a formidable head coach, there weren't many programs willing to hand over the keys to that head coach (There are varying reports that Leach's quirky nature may have been a detriment). Myers may have eventually regretted that decision to hire that quirky head coach as the relationship soured quickly and there was a true disconnect between the athletic department and the head football coach. That caustic relationship resulted in Myers effectively being neutered in the contract negotiations between Leach and Chancellor Ken Hance.
I believe to this day that Myers had little to do with the Leach termination and without a doubt, that's indicative of strange relationship that the athletic director had with his head football coach -- no relationship at all.
It seems as if people turned on Myers leading up to that point and during the Leach-Termination. One of the amazing things that happened to me during the Leach-Termination was that I think I received over 500 emails from various Texas Tech fans, alumni and donors expressing their dissatisfaction with the administration, from athletic director to the chancellor to the president. More than a handful of emails that I received detailed some of personal relationships that Myers had with those alumni and donors and that there were a handful of instances where these alumni and donors were sometimes not treated as well as they should have been treated during Myers' tenure. I wish I could get into details, but I've promised to keep the details of those email-conversation private.
More after the jump.
What I can tell you is that no matter what job you have, whether it be athletic director or the head-honcho on a blog, you're not going to make everyone happy. I have no doubt that there are readers out there that I've rubbed the wrong way, for whatever reason, and they don't read or participate in DTN because of my actions. I've never intentionally tried to run anyone off from DTN, but that doesn't mean I haven't offended someone. Although it's somewhat of a stretch, I view being in charge of an athletic department much the same way. Perhaps it's never the AD's intent to create ill-will or ruin relationships, but actions have consequences. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Not everyone is going to like you.
With the football program carrying the athletic department, I wish I could say that the rest of the athletic department was currently competing at a similar level. That's not to say that some of the other sports haven't had some success, but overall, I want to see consistent success and or improvement across the board with every sport.
The other thought was that Myers over-stayed his tenure as athletic department. On some level, I think that the role of athletic director has changed in Myers tenure as the AD. It seems to me that the role of athletic director isn't so much about being a figure-head, but it's about contracts and people skills and being a CEO, something that I don't think that Myers ever really was.
One other thought, and this is pure speculation on my part, but given the relationship between Myers and Leach, I have to wonder if Myers never wanted to hand-off the athletic director reins to another AD who would then have to try to fix that relationship. And to clarify, I'm not sure that I can really quantify what I think Leach did for the Texas Tech brand, but I'm also not so naive to think that Leach didn't cause problems in the athletic department and Leach did have an ego that certainly could have been a detriment to the athletic department as a whole. There's a part of me that thinks Myers wanted to see the Leach-relationship through, whatever the outcome might be, and I'm guessing that with the current litigation working itself out in court, Myers maybe feels that can now retire with the thought that the next athletic director has a pretty clean slate.
As I stated at the beginning, no matter how I feel about the situation, I do believe that Myers loved Texas Tech and there's something to be said for that. Some things could have been handled differently, but not once during his tenure did I question Myers' loyalty.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, where you stand on Myers. Your thoughts are more important than mine.