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April 16, 1990 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-16

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - April 16, 1990 - Page 3

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A Black AD discusses minority
participation in intercollegiate athletics

Richard Eisen

Charles Harris is one of the few
Black athletic directors in Division
1-A athletics. Harris' career began
at Michigan in the 1970s. He
* became an assistant athletic direc-
tor here before becoming an
athletic director at the University
of Pennsylvania. He is currently the
athletic director at Arizona State.
Harris spoke to Daily Sports Writer
Adam Benson on the topic of Black
coaches and administrators in
college athletics.
Daily: What is your greatest
concern about minorities in college
administration and coaching posi-
Harris: I think if I have a
concern it is quite simply that, while
in some areas there has been some
growth, there has been a fair number
of opportunities that have developed,
particularly in basketball. I think the
institutions that have done that are,
and should be, applauded for what
* they have done.
On the other hand, what you
generally see is a recycling of former
coaches. I guess my biggest concern
has to do with whether or not at
some level people are A) putting
themselves in a position to be
prepared to take advantage of those
opportunities when they develop and
B) whether or not those opportun-
ities etist for people to have the
chances. Administratively, I think I
have a different concern. When I got
started at Michigan there were
probably two or three division one
athletic directors around the country
who were minorities. That was very
nearly twenty years ago, and there
are still two or three athletic direc-
tors who are minorities. The only
thing that is different is the three
that were are no longer, and they
have simply been replaced by three
D: What can be done to change
H: If you are going to be succes-
sful in the long run you have to
realize you need to rely on other
people to accomplish it. Part of that
is having a mentor, or someone who
can advise you, that is a tremendous
The bigger part of it, and I'll use
the parallel of institutions that are
concerned about having young tenure
track professors, irrespective of sex
or race. Principaly what most insti-
tutions do when they feel they are
going to have a short fall of profes-
sorial types down the road is grow
there own. You pick the best and
brightest of your own undergraduate
population and channel them into
graduate type programs, be it at your
institution or somewhere else, so
that one, three, five, seven or nine
years you've got a base of people
that you can draw from that have
some knowledge of your institution
that are prepared to be associate

professors and assistant professors.
In athletics, there are no shortage
of minorities or women who are
vital participants in athletic pro-
grams across the country. I think if
institutions are serious, they need to
grow there own. They need to
cultivate some of those young men
and women who have an interest,
from a career standpoint, and channel
them both into appropriate academic
programs, to set up internships to
keep them involved in their insti-
tution and then to be willing to give
them an opportunity at an entry
level so they can be knowledgeable
when the opportunity presents itself
at a subsequent point they are ready
to take advantage of it.
D: When you were at Michigan,
then-athletic director Don Canham
ran the athletic department himself,
and somewhat separately from the
University. Recently, faculty mem-
bers have tried to bring the athletic
'In athletics, there are
no shortage of
minorities or women
who are vital
participants in
athletic programs
across the country'
department closer to the rest of the
University. Is this a legitimate
suggestion? .
H: I'm not really prepared to
speak (about the current situation at
Michigan). I think The Board in
Control (of Intercollegiate Athletics)
concept is unique in that it exists at
probably a dozen or maybe two doz-
en institutions around the country.
I think it is a question of what
the agenda is. I guess I'd have to tell
you that my perception is that for
the twenty years that Don Canham
ran (the Michigan) program they did
not have an infraction, they had tre-
mendous success competitively, they
had great graduation rates. It was a
program that I think is clearly one
that people around the country look
at as a model in many regards. That
was the time when I was there. I
think the important thing is that the
institution should control the pro-
gram. To me, as long as the in-
stitution controls the program,
regardless as to what that means in
terms of individuals, you have an-
swered your biggest charge to the
D: But you still have experience
in dealing with the Board and a un-
derstanding of how Michigan works.
H: Yeah... I think the thing that
gets deceptive with any board is that
it is democracy. No question that the
athletics board at Michigan, like the
athletics board at Arizona State, like

everywhere else in the country, has a
majority of faculty members. TheI
fundamental principal of control of1
intercollegiate athletics programs is
that they be controlled by the fac-1
ulty. The faculty has more votes1
than anybody else. To the extent that
they are involved, I can't speak to
that, but I can tell you during the
time I was at Michigan, the faculty,
ran the board of control. They had1
the votes, it was just that simple.
D: When Arizona State head-
football coach John Cooper left after
the 1987 season, you promoted as-
sistant coach Larry Marmie to lead
the Sun Devils. When you promote
a coach, as you did with the football
program, what criteria do you
H: In our case, we were coming
off our third consecutive bowl. We
felt recruited a good group of
student-athletes. I think in the main,
we approached from the standpoint
of it's not as if we are facing a major
overhaul in our football program.
Institutionally, we were satisfied1
with the direction the program was
going. To that extent, we didn't need
to look outside of our own program
to find the next person to lead it.
D: In football, it's said that
recruiting is so intense and time con-
suming that it is really difficult to
go through a nationwide search. Is
there a need to move very quickly?
H: I think recruiting needs to be
reordered and restructured pretty dra-
matically. I would like to see a time
when there is a prohibition on
recruiting that allows for reasonable
changes in staff. If it's a month or
six weeks, but there is a time when
people aren't recruiting. That gives
time to evaluate your program, to
make a decision about personnel, and
if you are going to make a coaching
change you can make it and not feel
an inordinate amount of pressure.
But as I think about the Mich-
igan program and Gary Moeller and
the long term that he spent at that
program, and the success he had at
that program, I don't know why you
need to look outside.
D: Your name was mentioned
when the athletic director job became
open at Michigan in 1987. Yet when
the search began to heat up, the
name most often, besides Bo's, was
John Swofford, the athletic director
at North Carolina. Some people said
you weren't interested in coming to
Michigan, but wasn't it strange that
you did not get more consideration?

H: I' m not the person to answer
that question. I think college ath-
letics is full of speculation about
what will happen next and what
happen last. I think that fact that I
had been there led to lots of
speculation. I don't think anyone
ever puts themselves in a position
where they are not interested in a
particular position. By the same to-
ken, I had made a commitment to
Arizona State, and I had not been
'The fundamental
principal of control of
athletics programs is
that they be
controlled by the
here that long. We were really just;
getting started in doing a lot of the
things that I wanted to do. In the
case of Michigan, I think timing
was the main issue.
Michigan is one of the prize jobs
in the country. Because of the kind
of institution Michigan is, the repu-
tation its had and I think because of
the role the administration has had
there over the years. Wfiether or not
a particular person gets a job there or
not to me is the function of a large
number of variables. Michigan is a
great job, a great institution, it's a
place I will always have tremendous
respect for, but I want to stress to
you that anytime you consider a
move or you aggressively pursue a
move or any of the variables related
to it, you are dealing with an issue,
of timing.
I had just gotten (to Arizona
State). I made a commitment to
these people. They went through an
extensive search process when I took
this job. There were some things the
University wanted, theie were some
things that I felt were important if
we were going to be able to have a
program at Arizona State, like the
one that exist at the University of
Michigan. That's a total program in
terms of academic success, athletic
success, of compliance - all those
things to me are a package. And
that's not a process that starts or one
that is concluded in any short period
of time.

Rich responds to
reader's reaction
As graduation rapidly approaches, it becomes time to finally clear out
my things at the Student Publication Building, the building you love to
Suddenly, as most seniors out there know, everything becomes the last
time you do something. This will be the last time I blow off class. This
will be the last time I get a pamphlet in the Diag. This will be the last
time an Ann Arbor youth nearly kills me with a skateboard.
You get the picture. Well, here, for you the home viewers, is the last
letter I will answer in my tenure as Sports Monday featured columnist.
I'm getting misty about this already.
We had fun together reviewing the letters about the Marching Band.
And we took a stroll down memory lane answering a letter concerning
Michigan State hockey fans taking over Yost Ice Arena. I'm so glad we
had this time together.
So, I figured, let's do it once more, for old times sake. One for the
gipper, you know? Interestingly enough, this letter was not sent to me
directly like the others, but was sent instead to the Daily Opinion Page
and printed in the letters box on Tuesday. What a wimp. So, just in case
Nelson thought that he might escape retaliation, here is the letter, once
again. And let's not get too misty here.
To the Daily:
I don't think that it is fair for you to assert that the Detroit Pistons
have directly altered the existing face of the NBA salary structure (Pistons
ruin NBA pay scale, 4/9/90).
To do so by reference to William Bedford's new contract and the
Konkak (sic) debacle is ludicrous and bad sportswriting. Huge sums of
money rewarded to NBA players is nothing new. It's a dead topic.
So Bedford's new contract is a relatively small dent in otherwise
notable sports news - even the Detroit News noted how "quiet" the
whole procedure was. In short, let's not make too big a deal here.
Secondly, I agree that offering Konkak (sic) $2.5 million was pretty
humorous, but you seem to forget the intent of the offer. Perhaps I'm
being too kind. You might not have even thought of it.
The Pistons wished to accomplish two things in their offer to Konkak
(sic): first, find a suitable replacement for Rick Mahorn, second, to hurt a
division foe - Atlanta - in the process.
Atlanta felt compelled to match the offer made by Detroit. So, offering
Konkak (sic) $2.5 million was simply sound business by (Pistons general
manager) Jack McCloskey.
I would also like to add that there were several disturbing statements in
your article. One made reference to Terry Porter as an "unknown
commodity." Perhaps only to you.
Among knowledgeable NBA followers, Porter is regarded as one of the
top point guards in the league. He is consistently among the league
leaders in assists.
And, by the way, your statement at the end referring to Dennis
Rodman is a classic example of "Piston-bashing." Congratulations on
ending a terrible article in such a classy fashion. Nelson Peralta
Dear Nelson: LSA junior
Look, Nelson, doling out Brinks Trucks to pineriders like Koncak
(With a "C") and Bedford is unconscionable, not a dead topic. As of
yesterday, Bedford played in only 39 games this season, averaging an
earth-shattering 2.6 points a game. He has made only 45 percent of his
shots, and only 7-of-18 free throws. Does this sound like a million dollar
player to you?
The Detroit News said the proceedings were "quiet." Because of that I
shouldn't make a big deal out of the Pistons ruining the NBA pay scale?
Well, Nelson, if Joe Falls told you to jump off the Empire State
Building, would you? I think not. Then you wouldn't be able to write the
Daily Opinion page such cogent letters, would you?
Remember in the '70s when two up and coming reporters named
Woodward and Bernstein uncovered Watergate? The White House said the
proceedings were quiet and look what happened! Do you actually believe
signing Koncak to a $2.5 million contract was a shrewd business move
by McCloskey? It did not hurt the Hawks; they still have Koncak. It hurt
the league; look at what's going on now.
Cleveland's excellent sixth man, John "Hot Rod" Williams wants $2
million next year. The sixth man! Danny "Pass the Fetuccini Alfredo"
Ferry is currently negotiating with the Cavs - by the way, I heard the
procedure is relatively quiet - and he wants $2 million as well. A rookie
and a sixth man on a team that might not make the playoffs both want $2
million each. I have never heard or seen of that before the Ko icak
signing. This is not a dead topic, this is disgusting. And, one last thing,
about calling me a Piston basher: yes, I am.

The Personal Column

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