What is YSU waiting for?

Well, since there hasn't been any white smoke seen bellowing out of Youngstown State University I guess there still hasn't been an athletic director named.
Four final candidates were interviewed within the past three weeks and university officials, who at first had hoped to have a new man on board by July 1, have now said that it could be as late as August 1 before someone is named.
The four candidates are: Ron Strollo, currently the associate AD at YSU; Dr. Ronald Zwierlein, senior associate vice-president at Bowling Green University; Timothy Gleason, commissioner of the Ohio Athletic Conference; and Michael Moore, athletic director at IUPUI.
What's taking so long? The interviews were completed on June 29. At that time a recommendation was to come from the YSU Search Committee to university president Dr. David Sweet.
Final say: Sweet and the YSU Board of Trustees have the final say in who gets the job.
Now that the interview process has been completed, I still feel that Strollo is the best candidate for the position.
As far as the experience factor goes, the only one of the four candidates who is currently an athletic director at a Division I university is Moore and he ranked fourth by my standards in the interviews.
When I look back at the past athletic directors at YSU and how they ran the show the past 25 years, one big factor comes to mind: Money, or at least the ability to raise money for the athletic program.
I use as the main example for this, former YSU athletic director Joe Malmisur, who in my mind was and still is for that matter, one of the finest fund raisers the university has ever seen.
Strollo will be the first to tell you that he learned a lot from Malmisur and worked closely with him in recent years when Malmisur headed up the athletic department's chief fund raising organization, the Penguin Club.
Best fund raiser: Under Malmisur's help the YSU stadium expansion project was a complete success and he was instrumental in organizing the YSU Scholarship/Ring banquet which has raised thousands of dollars for the YSU athletic program.
Now, I ask you, who's going to do a better job raising funds for the athletic department: Strollo, who's been doing it for past several years and knows the area, or someone from the outside that knows nobody around this area.
I've also heard a lot of talk about YSU needing an athletic director who will come in and improve the football and basketball schedules, bringing in big-name teams to Stambaugh Stadium and Beeghly Center.
When do you think the last athletic director went out and scheduled those games without first clearing it with the head football or basketball coaches?
First of all, the football and basketball teams belong to conferences and so many of those games are locked into the schedule. In football that is now seven dates, leaving four open.
I've sat with Jim Tressel and he's showed me a pile of letters from schools all over the country which had turned him down as he tried to fill up the football schedule.
Nobody likes to open the season with two Division II schools, but what's the alternative, play a Nebraska or a Kansas, like some of the other Gateway schools, and get your heads beaten in for a pretty good paycheck.
Taking right route: No, I think that Tressel and now Jon Heacock have chosen the right route to follow. Some fans might not agree, but it still comes down to the fact that if you're good enough to win the Gateway Conference then you're in the playoffs.
And the fact that YSU has been in the playoffs 10 of the last 14 years and has never won a conference championship should still say a lot for the schedule, regardless of the number of Division II teams on it.
XPete Mollica covers YSU athletics for The Vindicator. Write him at mollica@vindy.com.

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