There was Tuesday's big story out of Rutgers.
And it didn't take a genius to start the speculating. Even I thought of it.
In a perfect world, they work together to complete R B1G Build.
Pat grooms her to be his successor while he takes over the Prez spot when Dr. Barchi retires after completing the establishment of Rutgers Health.by Kevin Jennison J. Zametov-St Pierre on Jun 14, 2016
@RUAthletics I hope along with this promotion, there's also some implicit or explicit agreement on her remaining with Rutgers.— UpstreamMike (@UpstreamMike) June 14, 2016
The woman who was termed a "rockstar" in her role as Rutgers Athletics' chief fundraiser just got a promotion. A big promotion. The position of Deputy Athletic Director existed under Bob Mulcahy, a role that Kevin McConnell filled until he left with Greg Schiano in 2012; it hasn't been filled til now. It puts her in the No. 2 post in Athletics at a Big Ten school that is looking to do - and needs to do - a lot of things in the near and distant future.
Her previous role at Rutgers, and before that at Missouri, positioned her for a move to "the next level", athletic director. And it was just a month ago that Keith Sargeant wrote a story for nj.com saying just that. And while Sarah indicated that she was more than happy doing her job raising money for Rutgers and its athletes' needs, it was clear by the comments in the story that she was a person on the rise in athletics.
"I will tell you I don't think there's a better person in athletic fundraising today,'' Pat Hobbs said.
"Sarah has Athletic Director written all over her. She's a very good speaker. She has a great personality and experience. You can really see AD as part of her future.'' That from Pete Hendricks, a New Brunswick-based lawyer who is a key financial donor to the Rutgers football program.
And now she gets the promotion to - if you'll excuse the metaphor - being just a heartbeat away from the big chair. And, as Kevin said above, maybe that's the plan all along.
Knocking over the dominoes
Robert Barchi's contract as president of the university is up next July. It isn't unusual to start the search process at least a year in advance in order to fill such a significant vacancy. Heard anything about it? Me neither. Maybe that's because there's a plan already in place.
Ever wonder what background a university president needs? Well, among Big Ten presidents and chancellors, there are mostly academics: provosts, university vice presidents, deans; people who have served in higher education. There's even a former governor who never worked in a university. And among those deans is one who was dean of their university's law school. Hmmm.
So, Sarah Baumgartner is named Deputy AD, as close to the seat of power as you can get. She's been involved in athletic administration for almost ten years, and now has the inside contacts at Rutgers.
Pat Hobbs was Dean of Seton Hall Law School for 16 years, just as Harvey Perlman was law school dean at Nebraska for 15 years before he became chancellor. He's connected with politicians and knows the ins and outs of Trenton, something Rutgers can always use.
Last July, we posted a story on who the power brokers were at Rutgers. We pegged Sarah at No. 3, behind No. 1 Julie Hermann and No. 2 Greg Brown. Well, Julie is gone (so much for having "juice") and Board of Governors Chair Greg Brown is the one most likely pulling the strings; in all likelihood it was Brown who pushed Barchi into making the changes in athletics. At the time, this is what we said about Sarah:
She's the money guy (sorry, person just didn't sound right). She is in charge of raising money for athletics. She was a key player at Missouri when it raised $84 million towards their "Going for Gold" campaign. During her tenure, Missouri saw an annual fund that increased 60 percent in donor membership and 40 percent in annual fund gift growth from 2008 to 2013. This is a key player.
And remember, it was Mr. and Mrs. Greg Brown who made one of the million-plus dollar gifts to the R B1G Build. Sarah has had the point on the R B1G Build campaign, leading a team of ten in increasing donations and putting Rutgers more than half way to its $100 million goal. And you can almost guarantee that Sarah was there when the Browns signed the check.
So, in a year, Barchi retires. Rutgers needs a president and there's Pat Hobbs, former law school dean. Greg Brown, Board of Governors Chair says, "Step into the office, Pat." If that domino goes, Rutgers needs an AD. And there's Sarah, former, er, current Deputy Athletic Director. And President Hobbs says, well, you know.
Julie Hermann came into her job under a cloud and made one misstep after another. Bob Barchi didn't have time to view the Mike Rice video tape and begat a series of very public embarrassments for the University. Meanwhile, Pat Hobbs has been virtually flawless from Day 1. Sarah Baumgartner has been the same; diligently doing her job and raising lots of money.
"You can really see AD as part of her future."
What do you see in Pat Hobbs' future? How about an office in Old Queens, maybe?