WATCH: President Savoie On Scott Farmer’s Resignation, Finding Next AD
As the University President of the Ragin' Cajuns, Joseph Savoie has a lot on his plate on a daily basis. His plate got a little heavier this week.
With Scott Farmer's resignation from his position as Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Director, it's now Savoie's job to find his replacement. Before he can say hello to the new AD, he had to say goodbye to his close colleague.
"I want to compliment Scott on the work that he's done here, thank him for his many accomplishments and progress during his tenure as athletic director," Savoie said. "Scott is one of the hardest working people I know. He's here early and here late, he's here on weekends and he's always focused on doing his job. We owe a debt of gratitude to Scott."
With the timing of the announcement, Savoie also wanted to make it clear this decision had nothing to do with the recent controversy surrounding the inflammatory locker room video that misrepresented the university. It was just time to move on.
The athletic department grew greatly during Farmer's tenure, including the construction of several new facilities and expansions, but when his evaluation came up in October, Savoie and Farmer decided it was time to move in a new direction.
Savoie said they will conduct a national search for the new candidate, but in the time being, Deputy Athletic Director Jessica Leger will step in and serve in the interim period.
Leger has the full support of the university, which Savoie made quite clear.
"She has over a decade of experience, she's handled tough situations in a very good way, and she has my confidence," Savoie said.
The university doesn't want to waste any time, but due to the holiday season, Savoie said the search won't really take off until the beginning of 2017, and even when it starts, Leger will still have to handle duties and make decisions that affect the entire department until the new AD comes to town.
When asked what he's looking for, Savoie emphasized that they want an experienced professional to guide them into the future, but they must be open enough to embrace the unique nature of South Louisiana. He also said the Alden Report's evaluation of their needs and deficiencies will be an integral part of the plan moving forward, as they try to address their highest needs.
"I want them to read the evaluation of the program, get an understanding of it. I want them to talk to a lot of people, our supporters and our staff. I want them to get a good sense of the special culture we have here, then I want them to make something happen," Savoie said definitively.
The next AD will be asked to take what Farmer started and build off it to expand their brand and create more revenue. Creating in-house media content will be a priority, along with exploring ways to improve their position to possibly find a new conference. New positions will most likely have to be created and filled, and structural shakeups will be required.
For the full picture, watch Savoie's full Q&A session with the media, where he explains what led to Farmer's decision to step down, what he's looking for in the next AD and the priorities for the university moving into the future.