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UO Hires Insurance Agent For Athletic Director Position

The UO has hired Pat Kilkenny, a prominent donor, Univerity alumni and businessman to be the next Athletic Director. Incidentally, the Moshofsky Center’s field is named after Kilkenny, who “spearheaded” donor efforts to buy out previous Athletic Director Bill Moos’ contract.

Pat Kilkenny at 2/14/07 Press ConferenceTo his credit, Kilkenny came across as a genuinely nice guy in the press conference. He made numerous self-depricating jokes and exhibited a likeable charm that will surely play well with other donors. He admitted that he will need “lots and lots of help” in the upcoming months due to his inexperience, but also stated that he was determined to leave the program in a better state than which he inherited it. Kilkenny has been hired for a two year term– a fairly short period of time in terms of AD contracts. President Frohnmayer refused to categorize the hire as an “interim” one, focusing instead on Kilkenny’s business qualifications and history as a generous booster.

So the question is, why is the UO hiring someone who is essentially a wealthy fan with no significant prior sports management experience to helm the University’s Athletic Department?

My feeling is that Frohnmayer and many of the prominent donors desperately want the new basketball arena to get built and believe Kilkenny will be the guy to bring the funding in and get the project rolling. Kilkenny said in the press conference that building the arena “is kind of a pet project of [his]”, and that he’s assuming “the University will still cash [his] checks.” He clearly seems like the sort of man who will be good at wooing donors and getting them fully on board for the project.

The real question is how good of a job Kilkenny will do in, uh, everything that doesn’t involve bringing in money. As a University alumni and Duck fan will he be able to make tough personel and administrative decisions? Will Mike Bellotti and Ernie Kent’s staffs continue to be treated as deities or will accountability be introduced? In a light moment he listed firing people as being a “a core competency of [his],” but I think he may find that firing people in the insurance business and firing them from a public University are two very different things.

  1. Niedermeyer says:

    Sir, would you like a job writing comedy?

  2. Blake says:

    maybe the athletic department needed their insurance needs updated….

  3. Meghann says:

    Last I heard, the plan is to keep Mac Court around for other sports.

  4. Niedermeyer says:

    If the basketball arena theory is true, this is a sad call. One of the major problems with Oregon Athletics is a lack of history and heritage, and Mac Court is one of the oldest and most characterful basketball arenas in the nation, not to mention intimidating. It is also the single coolest thing ever done with student fees, and a monument to the erstwhile student-run athletic program. If the old girl needs a makeover, some million dollar locker rooms, maybe some updates to seating and the upper deck than so be it, but let’s not knock her down. Long live the Pit!

  5. Timothy says:

    So the question is, why is the UO hiring someone who is essentially a wealthy fan with no significant prior sports management experience to helm the University

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