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CoC AD Joe Hull Pressed On Adding Football
Charles Bennett of the Charleston Post-Courier broaches the subject of CoC football - might it be on the horizon?
The College of Charleston started the new year with a new athletic director. Joe Hull, a former associate AD at Maryland, is the new man on the job, taking over for Jerry Baker, who retired last summer. Hull has been busy. In addition to learning his way around a new university and a new town, he’s had to oversee the completion of the Cougars’ new basketball arena and hire a new baseball coach. Hull sat down recently with The Post and Courier’s Charles Bennett and talked about his first six months with the Cougars:
After six months on the job, any big surprises?
“I wouldn’t say there have been any real surprises. There has been more confirmation. It’s pretty much as I envisioned that it would be. Certainly individual people and what they do and how they do it and learning people’s strengths and weaknesses is an interesting process. When I got here, coming in from an ACC school, I was committed that I did not want to come in and say, ‘I know everything, you guys know nothing.’ So I have been trying to listen, observe and understand what we do and at the same time understand where our opportunities are. The Southern Conference is not the Atlantic Coast Conference, so I’ve had to learn a little bit about what is possible. But I’m absolutely certain we have a wonderful, bright future in front of us.”
You mentioned the ACC comparison. What’s the biggest adjustment from going from an ACC school to a SoCon school?
“More than anything else, it’s financial. Just to give one example, our budget at Maryland the last year I was there was $58 million. Here it’s $9 million. So the simple math is every time we spend $1, a program at that level spends $6. That makes a big impact. That doesn’t mean they treat their people any better or do things better. They certainly have bigger stadiums and some issues that we don’t deal with, but the financial part is a big difference. What is similar is talented young people trying to improve themselves and get better. Our task is the same in some ways, to take those young people, make sure they understand the value of an education, that they get a quality education and they do the best they can in their sport. That’s the same whether you’re at an ACC school or here.”
You were heavily involved in planning the new basketball arena at Maryland. You came here and everything to do with planning Charleston’s new arena was pretty much done. Have you been able to make any changes?
“I would say that almost all the big decisions had been done and were past the point of changing much. I’d say 85 to 95 percent was done. I inherited a facility. I’ve done what I can. I’ve got a list of things that I’d like to change.”
Are you happy with what will probably be the finished product?
“There’s a lot of good in the arena. It’s going to change us because it’s going to be first class in a lot of ways. This will take us to a completely different level. It’s a true arena.”
What things have been on the front burner for you since you got here?
“The main thing has been learning the people, the culture, understanding who does what. Who is doing the heavy lifting within the department? We’re going through a strategic planning process so we’re going to put our information and our goals on paper, from our core values to our vision, our mission. I want it on paper. In writing. Something that we as a group agree to. We’ve started that process. As far as the seeking to understand part, I’ve been trying to meet with everybody on staff. I’m almost there.”
You’ve got a new arena almost in place. Is there anything else facility wise that you’ve spotted as needing immediate attention?
“Well, we don’t have a track. We’ll see how that works out. To be honest with you, my hands have been full trying to make sure the arena is going to be right and making sure we play the right people. I would like to seriously upgrade the sports medicine area.”
So when do you plan to add football?
“I’m asked about it occasionally, but I don’t think about it. I’m certainly aware that we don’t have a football program. That’s for another day in the future. I’m certainly not making any plans.”
Do you think the time will come when you take a serious look at it, or do you reject it as impractical?
“None of us can predict the future, but in my mind, any issue about football would have to come from the president or the trustees. If someone at that level said, ‘We should take a look at this’ I’m confident that I could do that. But I don’t say any time in the near future that I’m going to push that way. We’re going to take the programs we have and try to make them the best they can be.”
One-on-One with Joe Hull
By Charles Bennett, The Charleston (NC) Post and Courier