UH's Choice For New Athletic Director: From USC Or Akron?

The University of Houston has supposedly narrowed its search for an Athletic Director to replace Dave Maggard down to two choices. The first choice is Brandon Martin, a former college basketball player for USC who is currently the senior associate AD for the Trojans. The second choice is Mack Rhoades, the AD at Akron.

Martin is seen as the hot candidate for the school because of his ties to USC, a school with a long history of winning athletic programs. It's also a school in a large metropolitan area that has to compete for recruits with numerous other big-name colleges.  

But before the Cougars make the final announcement, they might want to hold on for a bit. USC basketball coach Tim Floyd resigned suddenly, on Tuesday, amidst an NCAA investigation into improper recruiting. And the football program has been under investigation for recruiting issues dating back to the days of Reggie Bush.

But potential recruiting problems aside, there's one more thing of which to be wary. The University of Houston ain't the University of Southern California. The sports budget is nil. The facilities are ancient -- though I suppose that ancient comment also applies to the L.A. Coliseum where the Trojans play football. It's one thing to compete against the likes of UCLA and the PAC 10 and the rest of the major conferences when your school has a reputation of cranking out Heisman winners and national champions every other year or so. It's another to compete against the likes of Texas and Tech and Oklahoma and the Big 12 and the SEC when you compete in a minor conference with limited television exposure.

As unsexy as it sounds, Mack Rhoades from Akron could end up being the better choice. He's not from an athletic powerhouse. He's used to running a minor-conference program that is competing against major conferences.  

But when you think about it, this shows how much the school and the program have improved since Maggard took over as AD. Who would have thought, back a decade or so ago, that the school could ever be in the running to get a hotshot from USC to run the school's athletic program.  

Now if Tom Penders could just find a way to get the basketball program into the NCAA Tournament.

Update: And now the Chron is reporting that the choice is indeed Rhoads. We guess UH was waiting for us to weigh in.

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal