Monday, June 26, 2006

Don't Laugh If a Guy Ran Iowa's Athletic Department From California. Amos Dean, the University's First President, Didn't Move From Albany, N.Y.

Bud Appleby of Des Moines took note of Al Schallau's application to become Iowa's athletic director

Schallau's qualifications seemed fine, but he said he would become Bob Bowlsby's successor only if he could continue living in California so he could enjoy his view of the ocean.

I guess Iowa didn't think much of that idea. The job went to Gary Barta, the athletic director at Wyoming:

Here's Appleby's e-mail:

"Al Schallau's offer to run the Iowa athletic department from California may have been tongue-in-cheek, but it is not without precedent.

"The first president of the University of Iowa, Amos Dean, only took the job on the condition that he did not have to live in Iowa. He ran the university for three years from his office in Albany, N.Y., and only visited the campus three times in that period."

Bud Appleby
Des Moines

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks for the history lesson, Bud. Amos Dean [pictured on the right] was Iowa's president from 1855 to 1859, which means he didn't have any football coaches with $2.7 million contracts. Iowa didn't even field its first football team until 1889, when Charles Ashmead Schaeffer was the school president. Come to think of it, I guess I can't find too much wrong with Dean making only three trips to Iowa City. Who knows how long it would have taken him to walk from Albany in those days. I don't think the sidewalks were very good. Getting from Albany to Iowa City by covered wagon or horseback wouldn't have been much fun, either -- unless Hayden Fry was riding shotgun].

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R. H. Slaughter of Des Moines had a different slant on the Iowa athletic director search. Here's his e-mail:

"Hi Ron,

"I didn't think it would this quick for Iowa to find a new A.D. Sadly, it will not be Al Schallau. Gary Barta will be Bob Bowlsby's successor.

"But I wanted to to veer off course to ask a question of our daily newspapers. I understand the premise of the Iowa Open Records law and the need to have information published out. Once I heard that Iowa had made their decision, I got on-line and went to the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle website and read their side of the story.

"What was interesting was that they had a list of the possible candidates for the Iowa job. According to the Tribune-Eagle, the other candidates for the job, according to published reports, include:

• Toledo athletics director Mike O'Brien.
• Florida Atlantic athletics director Craig Angelos.
• Denver University associate athletics director Peg Bradley-Doppes.
• South Florida athletics director Doug Woolard.
• Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Robert Vowles.

"Here's a question for the Des Moines Register. The University of Iowa was adamant in not disclosing the names of the candidates, for if their names were released, it could cause problems for them since they were interviewing for the job. If the Register can spend time demanding the names of the candidates for the Des Moines School superintendent job, then why didn't they press Iowa for the names of the new director of athletics? That list was never written up in the Register or it's little sister, the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

"I'm a journalistic idiot savant, but I thought it was worth noticing and asking about!"

R.H. Slaughter
Des Moines

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks for another great e-mail, R. H. You've developed some outstanding reporting skills. Also, you've obviously been spending more time reading the newspapers lately than I have. I've been traveling a lot and haven't seen much of what's been in the papers from around here. Besides, I'm like a lot of other people these days. I just don't read the paper as much as I used to -- one reason being I can read a dozen papers free on the Internet in a short amount of time].

* * *

It turns out that Al Schallau can be a good loser.

After learning that he didn't get the Iowa athletic director job, and Gary Barta did, he sent me this e-mail:

"Dear Ron,

"I am writing to express my complete approval, applause, and endorsement for [interim] president Gary Fethke's selection of Gary Barta as the new athletic director at Iowa. Mr. Barta certainly brings exceptional credentials and track record to a difficult job. I think he will be excellent.

"I sure admire his foresight and PR talent when he showed up at the press conference wearing a gold-and-black striped necktie.

"NOW IT CAN BE TOLD DEPARTMENT: I really didn't want the job anyway. I couldn't leave Palos Verdes, CA, where the daytime temperatures in the winter months rarely fall below 70 degrees.

"I am today sending Gary Barta an e-mail to congratulate him and particularly to let him know that I am not a sore loser.


Al Schallau
Palos Verdes, CA

* * *

Schallau wasn't finished on the computer. He sent me the following e-mail after giving more thought to what goes on these days in the search for athletic directors, coaches and university presidents:


"I want to be one of those 'consultants' or 'head-hunters' who extract fees of $65,000 to give advice and opinions that are no better than mine.

"The Schallau Doctrines for Hiring Basketball Coaches would work successfully at least 90 percent of the time. The silver-haired coach from Long Beach State whom I recommended to Iowa in 1974 became the catalyst for building the arena frequently called 'The House That Lute Built.'

"I didn't get paid a $65,000 consultant's fee for that recommendation. But Lute did give me free tickets anytime I wanted them [including to the Final Four games at Indianapolis in 1980].

"Some time this summer, I will get around to writing a little pamphlet that will articulate all of the 'Schallau Doctrines For Hiring Basketball Coaches.' I think I will send that to every Division I athletic director in the country. If I keep it real short, there might be a one percent chance that someone will read it.

"You are sure right that Gary Barta seems to be a perfect fit for the athletic director job at Iowa. I sent him an e-mail to congratulate him and welcome him to the Iowa Hawkeye family. He already e-mailed me back. That is awesome, because I am sure that he is extremely busy right now.


Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Heck, Al, I've assumed all along that Bump Elliott -- who was Iowa's athletic director when Lute Olson [a.k.a "The World's Greatest Coach--Just Ask Him"] was hired in 1974 -- paid you at least $1 million to find the successor to Dick Schultz, who is in basketball's Hall of Shame. To show Iowa's appreciation for what you did, I think one of Gary Barta's first moves should be to name one of the restrooms at Carver-Hawkeye Arena "The Al Schallau Library." You deserve all the recognition you can get].

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More history. Here's a list of all of the University of Iowa's presidents and athletic directors:


Amos Dean, 1855-59
Silas Totten, 1859-62
Oliver M. Spencer, 1862-67
Acting President: Nathan Ransom Leonard, 1867-68
James Black, 1868-70
Acting President: Nathan Ransom Leonard, 1870-71
George Thacher, 1871-77
Acting President: Christian W. Slagle, 1877-78
Josiah Little Pickard, 1878-87
Charles Ashmead Schaeffer, 1887-98
Acting President: Amos Noyes Currier, 1898-99
George Edwin MacLean, 1899-1911
John Gabbert Bowman, 1911-14
Thomas Huston Macbride, 1914-16
Walter Albert Jessup, 1916-34
Eugene Allen Gilmore, 1934-40
Acting President: Chester Arthur Phillips, 1940
Virgil Melvin Hancher, 1940-64
Howard Rothmann Bowen, 1964-69
Willard L. Boyd., 1969-81
Acting President: Duane C. Spriestersbach, 1981-82
James 0. Freedman, 1982-1987
Acting President: Richard D. Remington, 1987-1988
Hunter R. Rawlings III, 1988-1995
Acting President: Peter E. Nathan, 1995
Mary Sue Coleman, 1995-2002
Interim President: Willard L. Boyd
David J. Skorton, 2003-2006


Nelson Kellogg, 1910-1917
Howard Jones, 1918-1923
Paul Belting, 1824-1928
Edward Lauer, 1929-1934
Ossie Solem, 1934-1936
Ernest Schroeder, 1936-1947
Paul Brechler, 1947-1960
Forest Evashevski, 1960-1970
Bump Elliott, 1970-1991
Bob Bowlsby, 1991-2006
Gary Barta, 2006-

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[Ron Maly is a four-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year and also is the author of the best-selling book, "Tales from the Iowa Sidelines," which is in its second printing as both a hardback and softback book. The book is about the rich football tradition at the University of Iowa. Maly has a heck of a lot of fun doing what he's doing. Ron's columns about sports, newspapers, his family, medicine, travel, the people he knows, the people he doesn't know, a few people he'd like to know better, a few people he once knew and is trying to forget, a few people he has already forgotten, and anything else that trips his trigger appear regularly at and].