BY JEREMY HOECK
There are developments — such as the firing of a coach, the hiring of another, play-calling, roster management, etc — that can naturally draw differing viewpoints from those on the ‘inside.’
And there is Thursday’s news about David Herbster.
It would be far from official, but if you were to take an informal, anonymous poll of every athletic department staff member at USD, I’d bet you good money at least 98 percent would say they wanted Herbster to be their boss on a permanent basis.
Well, they got their wish.
Word started coming out Thursday afternoon that USD president Jim Abbott was meeting with the athletic department at 2:30 p.m. My first reaction was: Herbster? Turns out, yes. Abbott informed the staff that he had given the job to Herbster — who had been serving in an interim role since last December.
The news, Abbott told me, was met with massive elation.
“I think everyone was really pleased. He is clearly very popular with the coaches and staff, and with the folks in Vermillion, not to mention with our alums. It’s a good, solid choice.”
Among those coaches is football coach Joe Glenn, who said Thursday that Herbster’s promotion — in essence, what it was — has rippling effects beyond just the DakotaDome.
“It’s a tremendous shot in the arm for our department, for our university, for Vermillion, and even for our state.”
When you consider the impact it could have outside of just USD, it’s easy to see where Abbott’s decision makes sense.
Herbster has been the point man on fundraising for the basketball/volleyball arena and track/soccer complex. Especially since previous A.D. David Sayler left for Ohio last December, Herbster — along with Jon Schemmel — has been criss-crossing the country to meet with alums and other potential donors. USD simply couldn’t afford to take a step back by hiring a brand new A.D. who would have to develop those contacts, learn the ropes, assure donors of stability, etc.
It hasn’t been easy, as you can imagine, with his day-to-day internal responsibilities. I sat down with him a few months ago before a home basketball game, and he was busy signing a stack of papers while at the same time answering questions about football scheduling.
He was a man doing two jobs.
And said Abbott, “He’s done a great job with all of those.”
The next step for USD, beyond making the official announcement Friday, is to eventually hire a senior associate athletic director. I would imagine that will be something they will look to fill as soon as possible, although Herbster will continue tackling different responsibilities within the athletic department.
With Herbster in charge, you can bet it’ll be a good hire.