Herbert breaks silence on hiring process

Former IU president Adam Herbert gave an exclusive interview to the Jacksonville Times Union Monday about the decision to hire Kelvin Sampson.

Jacksonville has been described as Herbert’s adopted hometown after he lived there for 15 years and was very active in civic causes such as bringing the Jacksonville Jaquars to town, before moving to Bloomington in 2003. But Herbert’s actual hometown is Muskogee, Okla.

In the interview, Herbert tells a story that appears to be different than the one that’s been making its way around IU basketball circles. The rumor has been that Herbert was the driving force behind hiring Sampson.

While Herbert doesn’t address that rumor directly in Monday’s interview, he does say that athletic director Rick Greenspan recommended Sampson as one of three or four finalists, and that ultimately Greenspan recommended to hire Sampson, and Herbert concurred.

Here is a long Herbert quote from Herbert in a blog entry by sports columnist Gene Frenette that gives an extended version of his story about the hiring process:

Herbert: “In this case, the AD developed the list of candidates to be considered. He initiated the appropriate background checks [of the candidates]. He hired a consultant to help us. No one knew who was on our final list of candidates. The AD went through the process of narrowing the list to three or four people, with the help of a consultant. Because of the significance of basketball in this state and the issue raised about NCAA sanctions [in Sampson’s case], I asked two members of the Board of Trustees to review the process.

“Once it became clear Coach Sampson was one we’d look at in greater deth, I knew it was an issue that would raise eyebrows. The AD held briefings for me and the two trustees, reporting back to us on everything he was able to find out. He talked with Sampson, the Oklahoma athletic director and the attorneys [for Oklahoma], so when we got down to the final discussions of what we might do, I thought we had a pretty good sense of what the issues were. We invited Coach Sampson to meet with Rick [Greenspan], me and the two trustees. We met for six hours. We had detailed questions about the phone calls [at Oklahoma].

“We came away from that feeling like [Sampson] was someone who understood what he went through and wasn’t likely to make that same mistake again. He cared about the young men that played for him. All his players loved him. The parents were appreciative of what he did for their children. All of us wanted to feel comfortable that [NCAA charges against him] was an aberration.

“What I asked the [IU] general counsel to do was develop clear wording [in the contract] with our expectations. It says that violations of NCAA rules can be a basis for termination. There’s very little wiggle room. It was to assure our expectations [of compliance with NCAA rules] were very clear.

“[Greenspan] recommended [Sampson] to the president, and I concurred with that, and the belief that we had every confidence that the letter and spirit of this agreement would be met. We had to have a pretty high comfort level [to hire him].”

To read the entire story, click here.

15 comments

  1. THERE IS NO SCAPEGOAT HERE. THIS WAS ABOUT PHONE CALLS PEOPLE. THE WORRY NOW SHOULD BE DOES IU MAKE THE RIGHT HIRE.

  2. Did Sampson get leprosy since Herbert gave him a bear hug after the Michigan State game? He was Sampson best friend then, but now he’s running away from him. If Herbert wasn’t trying to hide his involvement in the hire, he wouldn’t be looking for an interview at a friendly paper 2,000 miles away from the situation.

  3. To The HT:

    I am surprised you allow a post like the one above from TFB. I do not want to read this kind of drivel.

  4. Walt. I just deleted that comment after seeing your comment about it. We want to have an open forum here where people can be critical of public figures, but I do think that comment was in poor taste in the nature of its personal attack.

    As to why it got posted in the first place, the way our blog is set up, comments are automatically posted unless there is profanity in them, so the editing or deletion of non-profane comments happens after they are posted.

  5. As if Greenspan did not deserve to be fired after his horrible handling of this situation (the fact that he looked clueless last Friday, the fact that we had to pay $750,000 to a coach that cheated, the fact that he should have put MacCallum as the interim coach…and the list goes on…), he should certainly be fired now.

    I wouldn’t want Greenspan to pick out my curtains, let alone the next basketball coach at Indiana that could either set take this program into 20 years of mediocrity or turn this program around back to national prominence.

    one thing is sure, Greenspan should go.

  6. Greenspan NEEDS to stay. Yes, he obviously handled things poorly but with his leadership the football program is turned around and Sampson is a good coach and if he hadn’t violated his sanctions everybody would realize that. I don’t see why everyone wants to blame Greenspan for believing that Sampson had learned from his trouble in getting caught doing what everybody does. Don’t get me wrong – he should get in trouble for it, but I just wished ALL coaches that break the phone call rules should get what Sampson has gotten.

  7. Didn’t we only have to pay like 250,000? Seems like he cut a pretty good deal.

    Fox News has really turned everyone into a spin artist these days.

    It’s all BS.

    How are we looking for the Ohio State game tonight?

  8. Patrick – The payed him 750,000, 200,000 of that from the general athletic fund, the othe 550,000 from a private donor. Either way, Sampson got 750,000.

  9. Let’s try again; I would certainly hate to offend such arbiters of wit and great quips as Doug Wilson and “Walt”. I think the following statements can be accepted as reasonable assertions under a resonable standard:

    -Adam Herbert made no mention of the fact that he was forced out of Indiana University.

    -Adam Herbert was under-qualified, under-experienced, and produced shoddy results as an IU president.

    -One must question whether the major qualifying attribute for Adam Herbert was his ethnicity.

    -The University is still digging out of mistakes (or simple lack of executive management) during Herbert’s tenure.

    -Adam Herbert is a portly fellow.

  10. Porticos, you just described 95% of the workers at IU, it has nothing to do with his ethnicity and everything to do with IU not holding their employees accountable for their actions or lack thereof.

  11. Thank you Porticos. I can even agree with what you said about Herbert’s performance, although not about the ethnicity being the reason he got the job. Let’s remember that we have had a long line of President’s and AD’s that have done a very poor job with the IU athletic programs. We have not had a good AD since Bill Orwig. Given that I feel that Greenspan did a reasonable job with the football team and as Mike said, Sampson would have been a good hire if he’d kept his nose clean.

    I also do not feel that the situation was mis-handled on Friday. If you’ve ever been in one of those situations then you know how difficult and uncertain the last minute (hours) of negoations can be. The AD and his staff were only tasked to get it done on Friday and they never announced a press conference until they were ready to have one. I think we should let Greenspan do his job and bring in the best coach our current situation can muster and then get behind the team.

  12. As I read it between the lines, Herbert suggested to Greenspan he hire Sampson. After all, Herbert and Sampson talk the same “lingua franca.” So, it gets done. After all, what IU underling is going to argue with the president of the university? Greenspan ain’t no Bobby Knight, bless his soul.

    It’s nepotism of a sort. Big deal. Par for the course at smarmy institutions like these.

    “Man by nature is a political animal.” -Aristotle

  13. I am certainly glad that Rick Greenspan had a role in bringing coach Jack and Hoeppner to IU. What bothers me most about the past is that RG approaches his administrative work as a closed system of input. He needs to open up the search processes to more informed IU alumni because quite frankly, the IU Board of Trustees and the past Presidents of IU have been seriously lacking in developing long range plans for a successful athletic program. Right now, we are making great progress; but, the plans for this progress have been 20 years late forthcoming. IU deserved better planning in the past. Rick Greenspan needs greater input from wiser IU alumni to keep abreast of challenges facing athletics. If Rick Greenspan doesn’t ask for broader input for hiring the next basketball coach, I am afraid that it will be a disaster. Former President Adam Herbert’s leadership has been a disaster. I am not sure about McRobbie’s leadership but, I do not trust his judgments so far regarding the basketball fiasco with Sampson.

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