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Jernstedt a good target in UO AD hunt.

Byline: Ron Bellamy The Register-Guard

Before discussing some thoughts about Oregon's possible directions in search of a new athletics director, let's take a quick look back.

To October, when Oregon brought former Stanford athletics director Ted Leland to Eugene to produce a State of the Cas Center report.

According to sources, Leland spent two days interviewing UO coaches, athletics administrators and donors, to assess the athletic department under Bill Moos.

Presumably, he presented his evaluation, the good and the not, to UO president Dave Frohnmayer.

A question: Had Moos, by then, already determined that he was moving on, and the purpose of this was to leave an objective outside analysis for Frohnmayer and the next AD?

Or did Leland's findings have an effect on Oregon's decision to seek close to $2 million from donors to forge a resignation agreement with Moos?

(The Register-Guard has requested a copy of Leland's report under the state's open records law.)

Which brings us to the present, and conjecture over Frohnmayer's next move. Because he wouldn't have invested $2 million to close the door on the Moos era if he wasn't also sure of his next move.

While there's been speculation that Oregon will designate an interim AD, and that still could happen, one of the impressions Frohnmayer gave when announcing Moos' departure was that he wanted to move rather quickly.

Which suggests a known destination, and there are plenty of theories, one being that Mike Bellotti will become AD. Bellotti has said he wouldn't consider the job if it meant giving up coaching, but what else would he say prior to letters of intent being signed in February?

For the record, Oregon would be unwise to ask Bellotti to do both jobs. It's too big a task, to run a football program and an athletic department, and football fans invariably feel cheated unless the team is 13-0.

Another theory is that Bellotti will become AD and bring Jeff Tedford back to coach. Other than it sounding like something straight from an Internet message board, one flaw here - there's just one? - is that Bellotti would take a major pay cut by giving up coaching.

Being a big-time college football coach requires the management skills of a CEO, and the transition to AD is one that others have made, and Bellotti could. But does it make business sense as the first option?

Oregon's next AD is one of the last major hires that Frohnmayer will make as UO president. It's a critical choice for the future of the athletic department, and whoever is hired will become the key to building a new basketball arena.

Frohnmayer might eventually decide that this football coach, whom he trusts and respects (as does Phil Knight, Oregon's chief donor), is the right choice, but you have to figure he'll consider options first.

And the first person Oregon should consider is Tom Jernstedt, the NCAA senior vice president who has managed the NCAA men's basketball tournament for many years, developing the most exciting event in all of sport.

That's a powerful position, and Jernstedt is close enough to retirement age that he could consider his career complete. But, you wonder, what would it mean to him to come back to his alma mater and leave a legacy at Oregon?

A native Oregonian from McMinnville, Jernstedt came to the UO as a quarterback for coach Len Casanova. Injuries derailed his football career, but Jernstedt graduated from Oregon and had three different jobs in the athletic department from 1969-72 - events manager, administrative assistant and athletics business manager.

He's worked for the NCAA since 1972, beginning as director of events. He'd bring national credibility, and a track record of getting things done.

Go get Tom Jernstedt, and the Ducks make a major statement, hiring someone with a proven record as an administrator, and a sense for business and, on top of that, a deep love for the University of Oregon.

Frohnmayer's search may not end with Jernstedt, but there are good reasons for it to start there.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 8, 2006
Words:672
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