When Lisa Love left/was fired from/mutually decided to leave her post as Vice President of Athletics, there was unfortunately not a lot of noise saying she did not deserve to leave. She did many good things with athletics at the university, but there were also a few uglier things of note.
In the wake of this change of leadership, we posed this question to our panel of writers on the site:
Should Lisa Love have lost her job? What changes do you expect to see under Steve Patterson?
Here are the responses:
I do think Lisa Love should have been fired, but her main downfall was her loyalty to the underachieving coaches of two of the most prominent programs at ASU, Dennis Erickson in football and Herb Sendek in basketball. The "lack of institutional control" lost appeal involving the baseball program with the NCAA certainly didn't help, nor did the puzzling circumstances surrounding the search for a new football coach and the mass exodus of players from the men's basketball team. In the end, the lowlights outweighed the highlights of her tenure.
Given how poorly men's athletics have performed in recent years, it was only a matter of time before Love got canned. The timing of her departure is a little surprising to me, but perhaps it's for the best since it gives Patterson a few months of experience before the 2012-13 academic year gets underway. I expect Patterson to be far more critical of the coaching staff at ASU (looking at you, Herb Sendek). It wouldn't surprise me at all if Patterson made some significant cuts in the next few years as he transitions into athletic director.
As a student and follower of the UA, it only made sense for Lisa Love to lose her job following the messy football coaching search. While I do not follow the ASU athletic department very closely, seldom did I read or hear anyone speaking in a positive manner about Love, which is surprising given the facilities, location and money she had at her disposal. The school needs someone to capitalize on these factors, not completely misuse them.
Greg Byrne, an ASU alum and the current AD in Tucson, is among the best in the nation and his impact is felt all around the collegiate sports world. On Twitter, he retweets pictures of Wildcats fans wearing their school colors all around the globe. He announced the hiring of Rich Rodriguez over Twitter, and was a critical piece to the upgrades that Arizona Stadium will receive in the coming months.
The Sun Devils need an athletic director promote and improve their university in the way Byrne has just 24 months into his tenure in Tucson. I fully believe that his impact on the state of Arizona had a big part in Love losing her job, and it is now up to ASU to respond. Having a savvy and capable AD may not seem big on the surface, but they (and the athletic department) truly are an intricate piece to the entire university.
I was surprised to see Love keep her job for as long as she did, and her release was inevitable, in my opinion.
The firing did not surprise me. As for deserving to be let go, she did. For all the good things she did in the program, there were major blemishes. There was the extension of Dirk Koetter only to later fire him. The hiring of Dennis Erickson did not pan out. The baseball team is under sanctions. Herb Sendek got a contract extension in the midst of a terrible season and players are leaving the ASU basketball program left and right.
As for what I expect to see from Patterson, I expect change. I expect him to latch on to what football coach Todd Graham has been saying -- speak victory. Now, he is a little disillusioned in his belief that ASU and its resources can be compared to Texas and its resources, but he is taking the lead with a vision and appears to know the direction he wishes to go.