Read Part I of Tom Thumbs Down from yesterday.
All this talk about the interview process and you’re probably wondering who exactly had a chance at this job. Well these were the six finalists who were brought to campus for interviews:
Robert Burke, Brion Dunlap, Jamion Christian, Martin Inglesby, Pete Strickland and Gary Nottingham, who was the head coach at Glenville State College in West Virginia during the time that Powell served as GSC’s president.
Those who doubted my belief that Powell has more confidence in Burke now than he ever did in Milan Brown, that Burke would be given more to work with, and that Brown was set up to fail has never been more evident than it is now.
Consider that Burke’s salary will be approximately 125 percent of what Brown made in his seventh season at the Mount. That’s right; Brown clawed his way to a six-figure salary needing a conference championship and the school's first-ever NCAA tournament victory just to “earn” a five-year contract extension.
Now all Burke had to do upon his selection was walk in the door and sign the papers and he was granted thousands upon thousands more in salary to go with his initial five-year contract.
(I’d like to see someone who works in the school anonymously comment on that.)
This undoubtedly will mean higher salaries for the three assistants on his staff (in the neighborhood of $50,000 each) when it is named.
And when it is named, an additional paid position akin to a graduate assistant thats existence was never granted for Brown will be occupied by Sam Atupem.
In summary, Powell is giving Burke more money, more positions, and in turn, a bigger vote of confidence. I have no problem with most of this – I wish he could give Burke more than he already is.
My problem is that Brown was never given any of these benefits.
Was it because he’s not Catholic? I don’t know I’m just asking based on Powell’s comments in the press release:
“Coach Burke was selected for his strong leadership and coaching skills, devotion to Catholicism and commitment to the academic success of his student-athletes.”
Brown certainly displayed the strongest of leadership, great coaching skills and made the graduation of his players a priority in his tenure – but while he is a devout Christian, he is not Catholic.
(For the record the Mount’s president is the only position on campus that requires its occupant to be Catholic, as Powell once informed me. I’m sure that wasn’t counting anyone involved with the church such as the Rev. Brian Nolan.)
I do know that since Burke has not officially announced the hiring of anyone for his staff yet, there are only two minorities in the Mount athletic department. They are both assistant coaches for women’s basketball, which means that head coach Brian Whitten chose them and Powell simply signed off on the decisions.
But as we learned from the press conference, as well as from my interview about his sister-in-law (from this story; definitely read it), Powell makes all the hiring decisions:
“Nobody gets offered a job at Mount St. Mary's until they get a letter from the president offering a job. There's only one person who's allowed to offer people jobs and that's me,” Powell said in January 2008.
So then we should give him credit for all the black professors he employs. Let’s count them:
That’s it. Scroll down to the “D” section of this page and click on each department, then click on faculty, and she is the only black professor you will find. (I don’t know who J. Michael Harpe is in the education department, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to him as a professor, let alone seen him on campus.)
The funny thing about Samples is that she was hired before Powell, which logically means that he could not have hired her.
My concern beyond basketball is the legitimate problem with diversity at Mount St. Mary’s.
We have two black coaches and one black professor – neither of which was chosen by Powell – and we’re about to give a white, Catholic coach significantly more money and resources than we gave a black, non-Catholic coach?
As a white, Catholic alumni of the Mount, I’m offended. I am embarrassed to be associated with a school that gave me so much opportunity and so many memories, but is run so exclusively.
That which I can do in the meantime is limited; I can wait for Powell’s contract to expire on June 30, 2012 and I can refrain from donating any money to the Mount. When I’m older, less poor and the school is no longer run by Powell I plan on donating.
I’ll donate to the men’s golf program (if it still exists), to the men’s basketball program, which will hopefully still be run by a successful coach Burke, to the communications department and to other aspects of campus that shaped my career.
But to arrogance and selfishness? The only thing I will give to those causes is my vehement disapproval.
Please be sure to vote in the new poll on the top of the page on whether Powell should resign.
Multiple attempts were made to contact Powell via telephone (where he was not reached as I later learned he was in New York for business) and via e-mail. He accepted an e-mail request one week ago, May 26, for an interview regarding the contents of this piece but did not subsequently make himself available.
An excerpt of an e-mail I received from an employee in the Mount's communications department at 2:16 p.m. this afternoon:
"...would you stop by my office so we can talk about a few things?"
I wish I had the time.
At 3:03 p.m., literally seconds before I was about to post this, I received another e-mail from one of Powell's assistants regarding the scheduling of our interview for which he would not soon be available. I politely responded that I no longer needed to speak to Powell since our schedules were not able to align in time.