Thursday, December 11, 2008
Adventures in Public Relations - Syracuse Style
Regular readers of this blog know that I work in public relations and have for some time. As such, I sometimes go on little mini-rants about some of the better PR blunders encountered by the Syracuse Athletic department. Whether it's a web site that's constantly filled with errors or unsolicited calls to ESPN that perpetuate bad stories, there's always something going on in the SU athletic department that could have been handled better from a public relations perspective.
The latest cluster f*ck is a report coming out of ESPN 1000 in Chicago stating that New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Doug Marrone will be the next head coach at Syracuse. This was followed by a quick denial from Gross, with the Doctor saying he hadn't offered the job to anyone.
Let's review what we know - Marrone's Saints have a game tonight, which means there's no way in hell they'd announce his hiring a couple of hours before a huge game for them. So either Gross offered Marrone the job and someone leaked the info, or ESPN radio and now the NFL network have got it wrong.
If it actually is Marrone's job, Gross is going to look completely foolish holding a press conference in the next few days announcing his hiring after denying* it tonight. If it is Marrone, but the contract isn't worked out, there's a chance this report could screw any contract negotiations that haven't been hammered out. Scenarios include Gross geting pissed because the info is out, or Marrone using it as leverage to get more out of University, or any other number or weird issues could crop up. Stranger things have happened. If he job truly wasn't offered, ESPN 1000 and the NFL network have some explaining to do.
Part of doing a good job with public relations is controlling your message and coordinating who is going to speak to the media and when. What's curious to me is that quite often, when Gross is up to something, there always seems to be a leak or some other snafu before an actual announcement is made. That leads everyone right into damage control mode.
If the leak came from Marrone or someone close to him, it wouldn't be SU's fault, but also wouldn't be the way to kick off a relationship with your new boss, by leaking info he NEEDS to announce himself. Just once it would be nice to do something the nice normal way. New Mexico seemed to hire Mike Locksley in a relatively orderly fashion. Even Bobby Petrino, who is as big a scumbag is there is in the coaching world, managed to leave an NFL head coaching job for a college job in the middle of a season without it getting leaked.
Regardless of who ends up as the next coach, the circus that is the SU athletic department carries on, which begs the question -- does SU have a coach or not? And when we do, who is going to announce it?
* technically he didn't deny Marrone will be the next coach, he just said he hadn't "offered it" to anyone next, way to parse words Daryl