Tabor College President Jules Glanzer faced a bit of a dilemma. A nationwide search for a new athletic director came up empty. He resolved it by turning to familiar faces and expanding the leadership role of the athletic department.
As far as the failed search goes, it turns out that finding someone with the desired skill set wasn’t as easy as Tabor leadership must have thought. Either that or the school was victimized by bad timing.
Here’s what we know. Rusty Allen is the new vice president for athletics. And, unless there’s a change in plans, it sounds like Karol Hunt will be named half-time athletic director and Dave Kroeker will be a part-time associate athletic director. That’s a substantial increase in athletic administration.
It will be interesting to see the reaction on campus.
There’s probably a very real need to increase support for athletics at Tabor, because it likely ranks at or near the bottom of the KCAC in terms of money spent. But with salaries staying mostly flat the past few years, an already underpaid faculty and staff may question what appears to be additional layers of administration.
On the surface it appears the failed athletic director search led to Tabor’s next best option—look internally. Fortunately for Glanzer, there are some quality people already in place at Tabor.
Once Rusty Allen was pegged as the person to take the reins of the athletic department, Glanzer had little choice but to elevate the position to one of vice president, because it’s doubtful that Allen, already a vice president, would have accepted a demotion.
Hiring Rusty Allen wouldn’t have even been an option if Brubacher, as athletic director, hadn’t hired Rusty Allen as head women’s basketball coach in 2001. In the time that Allen has been at Tabor, he has been very successful and bleeds Tabor blue and gold as much as anyone.
Not that it matters much now, but I wonder how things might have been different if the search for a new athletic director had been successful. Would there have been additional appointments? If not, why increase the staff size of the athletic department now?
Only time will tell if the new structure benefits the college. When enrollment rises and falls, it’s often because of the numbers on the football team. The other sports require far fewer student-athletes. With more than 60 percent of the student body participating in athletics, the health of the overall athletic program is important to the school’s enrollment.
It will always be a challenge to find coaching stability because of the pay scale and the sheer number of athletic teams that Tabor fields. Even with the increase in athletic administration, Tabor will be hard pressed to match the success it had a few short years ago when fielding conference championship teams in volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball and football.
At the very least, one hopes Tabor will be able to field competitive teams in all sports, and be among the best in the conference in some of them.