As the Blake James era finally comes to an abrupt end, Miami’s search for a new athletic director has begun. Fans have been calling for the firing of Blake James for about a year now, but when Manny Diaz and the Canes failed to live up to high standards again, the heat intensified on James. I for one, was a bit shocked that Miami made this move. Hopefully this is a move that signifies Miami finally wants to get serious about football. Blake James was the first Athletic Director in Miami’s history to be relieved of his duties.
There are a few names floating around for the open position as Athletic Director at Miami. One name I would like to see Miami contact is Baylor AD, Mack Rhoades. If you’re not familiar with Rhoades, you’re about to be.
Mack Rhoades Career Timeline
Akron 2006-2009: Mack Rhoades started out at Akron, and helped the school achieve athletic and academic success, which we all know is next to impossible at Akron. For his student athletes, there were a total of 765 total Dean’s List Honors, 213 All-Conference honors, 83 all academic all-conference honors, and 14 conference player of the year awards, with 14 conference player of the year awards with 12 All-America honors. Another impact that Rhoades tenure at Akron created was the making of a 61.6 million on-campus football stadium. Some very impressive things to accomplish at a school like Akron
Houston 2009-2015: Rhoades then made the move to Houston to become their athletic director for 6 seasons. Houston football appeared in 4 bowl games and had a historic 2011 season when the Cougars reached No. 6 in the official BCS standings, finishing with a 13-1 record. It was the first time the program ended the year in the Top 25 since 1990. Rhoades also brought in Tom Herman who was later hired as head coach at Texas. Rhoades is also known as a great fundraiser. During his Houston days, they raised nearly $100 Million and constructed $160 Million in new facilities, which included a new on-campus football stadium. Rhoades also spearheaded the construction of a new men’s and women’s basketball training facility and golf facility.
Missouri 2015-2016: Rhoades then moved on to Missouri as their athletic director for the 2015-2016 seasons. At Missouri, Rhoades and his team developed the student-athlete enrichment program, “Mizzou Made”, which focused on life skills and career development among student athletes. His accomplishments during his short tenure at Missouri included the highest grade-point average in school history for student-athletes during the 2015 Fall term. The Tiger’s swimming team placed a program high 8th at the NCAA Championship, and the women’s basketball team returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Baylor 2016-Current: Rhoades’s work at Baylor has been exceptional. In the 2019-2020 academic year, Baylor was the country’s only school to finish the 2019 year with football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and volleyball all nationally ranked in the polls. All of those rankings inside the top 10. Under Rhoades, Baylor football also advanced to it’s first-ever Big 12 Championship game. That same year Baylor played in its first Sugar Bowl since 1957. Both men’s, AND women’s, basketball were number 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. Just for shits and gigs, Baylor also won its first Big 12 championship in program history in Volleyball. Sports overall had a 164-43-3 record during the 2019-2020 years. Rhoades helped oversee Baylor’s “Bear Foundation” which is reported to have more than 20 million in annual donations to Baylor athletics. Since Miami fans want to hear about football, Rhodes hired Matt Rhule in 2016, who currently coaches for the Carolina Panthers. Once Rhule moved on to the NFL, Rhoades conducted a national search and hired coach Dave Aranda. Aranda is already an extremely hot name in 2021’s head coaching search for major college football programs like LSU and USC, who recently fired their coaches. Simply put, the guy knows how to find good football coaches. During his tenure, Baylor teams have earned 15 Big 12 titles across all sports.
So there you have it, if the Miami BOT and administration don’t make an attempt to reach out to Mack Rhoades, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Miami cannot afford to miss on hiring an athletic director just as much as it cannot afford to miss on the next football head coaching hire. There have been some names floating around but I would like to see a strong push made for Rhoades. I could imagine Rhoades as Athletic Director combined with Alonzo Highsmith as Director of Football Operations, and I’d be in heaven. The resume speaks for itself.
Make the call.