1. any opportunistic or exploitive outsider:
Color me completely unimpressed with Scott Barnes hire as the Pitt Athletic Director in the first place and then his subsequent leaving yesterday. It was readily apparent from the start that he had no real vested interest in the University of Pittsburgh but so also little in the Athletic Department that he was hired to grow.
He showed this from the beginning of his time at Pitt and the it was evident that he was biding his time until he could leave. We’ll talk about why he left in a bit but spare me the “needed to get home” angle. That may well be true with Barnes but executive employees all over the United States want to “go home: again but almost all wait until the end of their careers, when they have reached the pinnacle of success elsewhere, to tip the balance scale that way.
Here is a piece from the Post-Gazette that shows the timeline for Barnes’ time at Pitt. It is published as a sidebar to an apologist article written by Barnes’ apparent #1 fan :
Scott Barnes’ Tenure as Pitt AD
April 23, 2015 – Hired at Pitt
June 15, 2015 – Officially takes office as AD
June 24, 2015 – Fan experience committee announced
This is a wonderment issue because aside from the trumpets and fanfare of the announcement I can’t find one thing that they actually did that hadn’t been done in some form or another before at Pitt athletic matches. They didn’t have an impact on getting beer sold so what exactly did they do? We had some paint splashed on the mid-field area to personalize the field a bit.
July 31, 2015 – Contract extension for women’s basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio
Routine, no other bidders for her services
Aug. 13, 2015 – New contract for softball coach Holly Aprile
Routine, no other bidders for her services
Aug. 30, 2015 – Pitt script adopted for all sports
BTW – started by Steve Pederson and finished by Barnes. It happened on Barnes’ watch so he gets credit but it was in the works for some time. Credit him for the public relations campaign associated with it – that went well but it wasn’t his efforts that started it.
Sept. 10, 2015– Backyard Brawl renewed for 2022-25
Whoopee – didn’t seem like people gave our old AD any credit for getting PSU back on the schedule for a series… This is what an AD is supposed to do; scheduling games seven years in the future is how things work and this was a no-brainier on both schools’ part. The tough thing about getting PSU back on the schedule was that it wasn’t really all that an important issue for Penn State thus that made it harder to accomplish.
Dec. 4, 2015 – Pitt hires Jay Vidovich as men’s soccer coach
Dec. 10, 2015– Contract extension for football coach Pat Narduzzi
Routine at any school after an initial outside job offer to a new head coach. The key is to see what sort of buyout clause Pitt has with Narduzzi if the bigger programs come calling, which I believe they will and soon. That will be the key when push comes to shove over his services. This decision could also be seen in a negative light as it set a precedent for a knee jerk reaction to what apparently wasn’t a formal contract offer with no interviews taken.
It wasn’t a bad thing to do by any means but I’d certainly would consider this anything to put a feather in his cap about. Again – an extension with an accompanying raise it pretty standard in this situation – but the real issue is whether Narduzzi agreed to a heavier buyout clause when he signed that extension.
Jan. 19, 2016 – “Town Hall” event for Pitt fans outlining strategic plan
“Barnes laid out goals for focusing on fan engagement, expanding the revenue base, improving athletes’ graduation rates and re-allocating resources. So far, Barnes said the athletic department has failed to solicit sufficient donations from Pitt’s alumni.
“[Moving to the ACC is] a significant lift,” Barnes said. “How are we going to bring the resources to compete at that level?” Pitt is second in the ACC in total alumni, but second to last in total alumni donations. “I’m licking my chops,” Barnes said. “That is an opportunity.”
Through fundraising, the Athletics Department plans to fund $8 to 10 million for facility improvements. A $4 million renovation is already underway at the swimming and diving facilities at Trees Hall, set for completion this fall.”
But from what I gather those fundraising efforts have fallen well short and that money expended on the current renovations was already in the Pitt budget.
March 21, 2016 – Jamie Dixon steps down as Pitt men’s basketball coach
Honestly, I think Barnes’ purposefully made it easier for Dixon to leave contrary to what has been written about Barnes ‘loving Jamie Dixon’. He wanted to piss on something at Pitt as soon as possible to leave his mark on things and the basketball program was there for the wetting. We saw an indication of his somewhat immature need to establish dominance in the department and the media right away when he showed his arrogance and stupidity at Stallings initial press conference.
March 27, 2016 – Kevin Stallings hired as men’s basketball coach
This is a ‘to be seen’ issue and I have no real comment on it as I don’t follow Pitt hoops that closely. I will address his complete foolishness in his after-actions below.
May 18, 2016 – Pitt unveils new script uniforms
Again, negotiations with the contractual apparel companies for this took place before Barnes arrival. Fans like the new uniforms and that is a good thing. But this is something that isn’t new in Pitt athletics and will be done again and again.
I think fans believe that Pitt itself makes the call on when to do up a new rendition of uniforms when that really isn’t the case. Unless a school is one of the big, easily recognizable programs (PSU, Alabama, Ohio State, etc…) this happens on a regular basis. The apparel companies need constant turn-over in the uniforms for school ‘gear’ sales to fans. Give us 4-5 years, will see new ones again with a different AD.
The Dixon situation wasn’t the only cake target in the urinal at Pitt for Barnes. New executives almost always feel the need to change things and sometimes just for the sake of change. I don’t know exactly how well all these new staff positions and new Internal and External Affairs units have worked out but I have seen this exact same thing happen numerous times. That is what a new boss does.
But regardless of what he did or didn’t do right away what we have seen is a raft of departures from the athletic teams coaching staffs. While we can try to excuse things by saying that it happens all the time at other schools the truth is within his first 18 months Pitt lost a successful BB head coach, and two offensive coordinators from the football team at a time when continuity within Pitt sports was paramount after all the crap the university had been though over the last six years. That is on him specifically as his main job was to enhance the athletic programs and not just change them.
June 27, 2016 – Barnes announces beer sales at Heinz Field for 2016 football season
Yeah us!! Good thing but none in press box… 😦
Aug. 18, 2016 – Barnes announces a record 55,630 season tickets sold for football
Hmmm, that is something but it is all about Pat Narduzzi. How many of those new purchases are block sales to organizations and corporate entities? It is nice to have more tickets sold but I wonder how many were discounted?
It sure didn’t impact the all-important number of fans actually in attendance which, to me, seemed low given the year we just came off of. With the exception of the PSU game I was surprised at the number of empty seats for the other home games – especially the later Duke game, listed at 35,425 and the Syracuse game listed at 34,049. Sorry but there were not that many people in those seats.
Sept. 22, 2016 – Oregon State AD Todd Stansbury leaves for Georgia Tech
Dec. 14, 2016 – Barnes meets with Oregon State officials
Dec. 21, 2016 – Oregon State offers AD job to Barnes
Dec. 22, 2016 – Barnes named Oregon State AD
So it all came down to punching a ticket and filling in a school’s name of the blank spot on Barnes’ resume’. I truly believe that. He is but a blip and soon to be footnote in the history of Pitt athletics and I for one don’t care a bit that he’s left.
I believe he showed his true colors with his supreme arrogance toward fans and the local media at Stallings’ press conference – it was especially untoward and distasteful after he took the easiest and most financially profitable course for his headhunting buddies in executing the Stallings hiring.
Time to move on Pitt. Let’s hope Dr. Juhl can do a better job than he did the first time around, He kind of swung and missed on Barnes.