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TexAgs Radio: Liucci and the crew react to Texas A&M's hiring of Ross Bjork

May 24, 2019
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During Friday's edition of TexAgs Radio, TexAgs co-owner and executive editor Billy Liucci and the crew offered their reaction to A&M's hiring of Ross Bjork as the next Director of Athletics in Aggieland.


Key notes from Parrish Alford of the Tupelo Daily News

  • It wasn't surprising that Ross would leave. I think he's done good work at Ole Miss. His name has come up in connection with other jobs so it's not surprising he would leave.
     
  • Some people look at Ross Bjork in a seven year window at Ole Miss and see NCAA investigation. That's how his time will be remembered. But he actually inherited that investigation. When I look at Ross Bjork and Ole Miss, I think "what does an AD do?" This is an over simplification but it's about raising money and hiring successful coaches. And it's more so hiring a successful football coach. When I look at Ross Bjork on a fundraising point, he's done a phenomenal job raising money and updating facilities.
     
  • As a school, Ole Miss was able to renovate the basketball coliseum and Ross Bjork was an integral part of that. Under Bjork, they bowled-in the football stadium. When you approach those two venues, Bjork would call it "the front door of Ole Miss". There are new ascetics right outside the football stadium and basketball arena. It's just a really attractive picture for the front door of athletics right there.
     
  • The football coach situation, that's still to be determined. He hired Matt Luke. He went 6-6 and a lot of things went on to get that 6-6. What that football hire turns out to be for Ole Miss is to be determined.
     
  • That investigation started with women's basketball. The NCAA decided to look at football as well. Football became the overwhelming thing people focused on. When I say "inherited it", it started from a women's basketball perspective because of an academic scandal and coach Wiggins. Bjork signed off on that hiring but he had just gotten there. The investigation began with women's basketball and morphed into football but Bjork didn't have much of anything to do with it.
     
  • There's responsibility because he was there and it happened under his watch. The biggest criticism of Ross Bjork from Ole Miss fans was he fully cooperated with the NCAA. You fully cooperated and you still get hit hard.
Discussion from...

TexAgs Radio: Liucci and the crew react to Texas A&M's hiring of Ross Bjork

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AG
Ok, then, Billy. The optics don't look good. We could have done much, much better.
greg.w.h
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AG
I thought Billy framed it fairly. Things he said that were new:

1. Basically a Young/Fisher hire which is confirmed by the short time frame.

2. Without saying it, he acknowledged Young might not be here for the five-year renewal term that was in his original contract. Not surprising, but direct and consistent. The surprising part is that for #1 to be true there is still a lot of trust invested in Young.

3. Direct honesty on how the back channels were aware of the news including that Fisher was involved and uncertainty on whether Buzz was. Looch isn't embellishing anything.

4. Hyman was hired because SEC experience but in retrospect he effectively came here to pad retirement. The fans felt that early and then he appeared to boost TCU while AD and possibly while in the selection committee. That makes no sense unless he viewed himself as a money/process guy not a booster of Texas A&M.

My opinion on Bjork is it's his position to shape. Don't know if there was really trouble on spending with Woodward, but he better have a great CFO working alongside him and his latitude will come from fundraising.

I'd also make it a point to co-raise some funds for the Texas A&M Foundation. That's critical to gaining support on the academic side, imho.
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