The University of Maryland, College Park’s Athletic Department is facing uncertain times. First, University President “C.D.” Dan Mote retires as University president in August. Now, Debbie Yow has announced that she, too, is leaving the land of Terrapins to become North Carolina State’s athletic department. The latter part is a stinger.
UMCP is launching an immediate search to find Yow’s successor, a difficult task at best. Even if the ideal candidate were found immediately, according to Mote, it still leaves the university without an athletic director for months. He is quoted in the Baltimore Sunpapers as saying: “That’s too long for a high-powered national class athletic program to go without an athletic director.”
But unless UMCP runs across an odd stroke of luck, they won’t find someone to take Yow’s place soon. She was named by Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal as one of the 20 most influential people in intercollegiate sports. Mote’s worries about replacing Yow are, indeed, warranted.
In the meantime, Mote will appoint an interim Athletic Director for the Terrapins by next week. Moreover, because Mote is retiring, it will be up to the new University president to announce a successor to Yow.
Debbie Yow came to the University of Maryland from St. Louis in the summer of 1994. She has chosen to take on the Athletic Director position at NC State because North Carolina is her hometown. Yow attended Elon College, and her sister coached the women’s basketball team there for 34 years.
Athletic Directors build relationships with their coaches, which affects the program, good or bad. Think of it as a trickle down effect. An AD’s relationship with a coach affects the coach, which in turn affects the players which in turn affects the fans which in turn affects the university’s funding.
The only up side to Yow’s departure is that the Terrapins will not face the same issues most universities face when they lose an Athletic Director. In most cases, when an Athletic Director leaves it’s a bad thing, but for different reasons. Most leave under terriblecircumstances: a budget is in trouble, the sports department is a loser, etc.
That’s not the case with Debbie Yow and the University of Maryland, College Park. Maryland has won 11 national championships in five years. Just last year, Maryland took two national championships and five ACC championships. They made 18 post-season appearances in 2009.
From the money side, Yow made a point to balance the budget. In fact, she balanced the budget and lowered debt from 51 to $7.6 million. Perhaps she should have been looking to Washington, rather than North Carolina, as a new home.