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Chuck Landon: Finances slow search for new AD

Jun. 11, 2009 @ 12:48 AM

Finally, it begins.

Marshall's 10-person interview committee is scheduled to meet with Dallas-based executive recruitment firm Eastman & Beaudine this week.

Perhaps, even today.

That is good news.

It means the search for Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum's replacement officially begins -- at long last.

Now, if Marshall just could raise the $50,000 fee to pay Eastman & Beaudine.

Two weeks ago, 10 supporters pledged to raise the money.

It's still a work in progress.

Just last Monday evening, one supporter showed me a check for $250 he was contributing.

"We're still a couple (thousand) short," he said.

That is slightly surprising.

Given the circumstances, I expected supporters to jump on the monetary band wagon to find a successor for Marcum, who's contract ends on June 30.

Yet, another sign of the economic times.

Speaking of executive recruitment firms such as Eastman & Beaudine, this is how they operate.

They are somewhat like a law firm on retainer.

When they are hired to do one job search, the client university also is obligated to the firm for the school's next athletic job search.

Take SMU, for example.

Eastman & Beaudine handled the Mustangs' search for a new athletic director. They successly landed Steve Orsini, who had been UCF's athletic director, for SMU.

So, then, when the Mustangs were in the market for a new men's head basketball coach, Eastman & Beaudine also filled that vacancy.

That's how SMU got current coach Matt Doherty.

Orsini has worked out well.

Doherty?

Not so much.

It just goes to show that sometimes with executive recruitment firms, a university has to take the good with the bad.

Marshall's softball field originally was supposed to cost $2.7 million.

But, according to knowledgeable sources, the field is now $1 million over budget.

Among other things, part of the increased cost is the outfield has to be redone because of sink holes.

Former Marshall recruit A.J. Graham is no longer incarcerated.

The 18-year-old star quarterback spent 14 days in Leon County Jail in Tallahassee, Fla., after being arrested for felony armed robbery on May 26.

Graham had been held without bail until Monday when Assistant State Attorney Jon Fuchs requested a $150,000 bail. Defense lawyer Timothy Jansen countered with a $10,000 bail request.

Circuit Court Judge Mark Walker set Graham's bail at $26,000, which meant a bond in the amount of $2,600.

Graham finally was released at 8 p.m. Monday.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, more than 30 family and friends attended the bail hearing. Many of them showed their support by wearing blue and white ribbons -- the school colors of Godby High, where Graham starred.

The next step in the judicial process is a case-management hearing, scheduled for June 11. A trial date also is expected to be set then.

And what is the defense lawyer's strategy?

"What we're saying, judge," said Jansen during the bail hearing, "is that this is a case of mistaken identity."

And, finally, with all the current cutbacks in collegiate athletics -- from doing away with media guides to limiting the number of football players a team can take on the road -- one question is rather perplexing.

Why is Marshall expanding its cheerleader squad from 15 to 17?

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 526-2827. E-mail him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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