January 22, 2018 – With the college football season at its end, expect to see a lot of firing and hiring activity involving coaches. With that, schools are expected to continue relying on search firms to fill the resulting vacancies.
The latest, after a search that lasted all of about two weeks, DHR International has placed Kevin Sumlin as head coach at the University of Arizona.
Glenn Sugiyama, managing partner and global sports practice leader, headed the assignment.
The job became open with the dismissal of Rich Rodriguez amid accusations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile workplace. “After conducting a thorough evaluation of our football program and its leadership, both on and off the field, president Robert Robbins and I feel it is in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction,” said Dave Heeke, athletic director.
Mr. Sumlin, a three-time national coach of the year finalist, comes to Arizona after six seasons as head coach at Texas A&M University, where he compiled a 51-26 record including three bowl victories. He was also head coach at the University of Houston for four seasons, amassing a 35-17 record. In his 10 seasons as a head coach, he has an 86-43 record and his teams have played in bowl games in nine of those seasons.
Mr. Heeke described Mr. Sumlin as a proven winner who is expected to have an immediate impact on the football program, the athletic department and the university. “An accomplished coach and an excellent recruiter, Kevin shares our vision and values and fits with who we are and who we want to be,” said Mr. Heeke. “His commitment to academics and to community service are a testament to his character. I have no doubt that Kevin will bring an exciting brand of football to Tucson and that championships will follow.”
Mr. Sumlin said he welcomes the challenges ahead. “With a strong foundation already in place, we will work quickly to assemble an elite coaching staff and immediately begin the work of establishing our culture, recruiting future Wildcats and connecting with Wildcats past and present,” he said “We will win championships. We will graduate our players and they will contribute to the university in many ways while they are here. We will represent Arizona with class and pride.”
A Leader in Sports Recruitment
DHR’s sports practice is a global specialty for the firm with capabilities on six continents across all sports-related organizations. These range from Fortune 500 companies and professional sports teams to public and private university athletics. The firm has handled searches for the University of Pittsburgh, Colorado State University, Fresno State University, San Jose State, Kansas, Syracuse and Quinnipiac University, among others.
DHR Recruits Head Football Coaches for Arkansas and Oregon State
Arkansas and Oregon State both turned to executive recruiter Glenn Sugiyama to find new football coaches. Let’s go inside each search and take a look at why recruitment firms are in high demand to find athletic leadership.
Described by Forbes magazine as “one of the most influential men in college athletics,” Mr. Sugiyama places talent for professional sports organizations and for top academic institutions around the world, including senior sports executives and head coaches. He is considered a human capital expert in the sports industry, and is frequently asked to share his opinions and insights in the media and speak about his experiences internationally.
Among other assignments, Mr. Sugiyama helped recruit head coaches Jeff Brohm at Purdue and Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic University last year.
“Using a search firm to find an AD or head coach brings many benefits to colleges, including speed, coordination and discretion in an industry where all three are vital,” said Mr. Sugiyama. “Search firms can provide many tangible and intangible items in a search process.” In addition to confidentiality, industry expertise, organization and detail, search firms can give an institution a “credible and professional third party” credibility while providing the institution “protection and plausible deniability,” he said.
“Search firms mitigate the risk involved and allow the institution to make the very best hire with as much information and due diligence as possible,” he said. “For a college to attempt to do an important athletic search on their own without the assistance of a search firm would be like them building a stadium without an architect or a contractor.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media