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President Williams stops at Whit's end

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Since I have met and/or been at the press conferences of every athletic director in recent memory (since about 1990) I decided to find a window in my work schedule and attend the press conference of UC's newest AD, Whit Babcock.

Professionally, I really didn't have to be there as my current assignment has me covering high school sports.  However, I was once the "UC guy" at my previous occupation, I'm a 1983 grad and old habits are hard to break.

Paul Dehner Jr. and Tommy G have you covered as far as the nuts and bolts and basics of the new guy, so I'll just add my two cents worth and be on my way.

When I moved back to Cincinnati from Tampa, Rick Taylor was the AD. It wasn't an easy job then either. While the station I worked at took jabs at UC, I was always fully supportive of the program and never hid my enthusiasm for Bearcat news.

Believe it or not, former football coach Tim Murphy and basketball coach Bob Huggins would thank me repeatedly for booking them on the sports talk show I produced at the time for Cris Collinsworth and that got my foot in the door for further relationships with UC.

Except for any with Rick Taylor.

When I introduced myself as a UC grad at the Final Four in Minneapolis in 1992, all he heard was where I worked and he grumbled at me.

That impression never left me and I didn't shed a tear when his abrasiveness was gone. (For the record, Bob Huggins was his FOURTH choice to coach basketball here and Taylor often brought that up.)

Taking the place of Taylor was Gerald O'Dell. While his years will go down in infamy for his clashes with coaches and Watergate behavior, the man personally treated me well as a member of the broadcast team.

Like Rick Minter when he was let go as football coach, O'Dell wrote me a personal letter after his departure.  So, while I had professional disagreements with both, I wish them both well.

In the end, stubbornness did them both in.

Bob Goin was a tough cookie, but once I got to know him he was supportive and kind and more than once spoke on my behalf. I got to know his family and they were also very kind to me.

History will show he was brought in under difficult circumstances and left under difficult circumstances.  What he accomplished is visually apparent today. If there is a book to be written about the man, I'm buying.

Mike Thomas was also brought in under difficult circumstances.  He was also friendly to me, but honestly I didn't have the same relationship with him as the others. With him came a number of changes and that tends to be the case when a new "sheriff" hits town.

This is not to speak behind the man's back, it's just the facts as I see them. He did hire two good football coaches in Brian Kelly and Butch Jones, so he deserves high marks for that. He also elevated Bob Arkeilpane who did and does a tremendous job and is a very approachable guy.

Part of Bob's job today was introducing President Williams, who introduced Whit Babcock.

My early impressions of Director Babcock are: a) he's the tallest AD here that I can recall; b) he's got a slight "twang" to his accent (which ain't all bad when you're negotiating athletic conferences); and c) his resume is full of crucial and key connections.

Something new to this press conference was the appearance of Missouri's AD and some of the Tiger staff as Babcock was introduced. Very classy.

I don't read anything in that, but in terms of league affiliations, I hope there is.

At the end of the gathering, I waited around as I have for the last bunch of these to say, "Hello!"

Realistically, the "new guy" is always bombarded by this interest or that interest, this TV reporter and that newspaper guy, or any number of donors on hand for inspection. On the "greet the new AD" food chain, I hover near the bottom.

That said, he did say, "Hi," as he initially approached. As I stopped him briefly to shake his hand, I told him my 10-second background and told him my name was Scott and that I wrote for his website.

He asked for my last name.  That's a start.

The coaches and administrators that I've appreciated the most at UC where the ones who would ask how I was or how was my family and then actually listen.

Whit Babcock seems like a pretty good neighbor and I welcome him.  He also briefly went to school with UC's departing ticket manager, Meagan Kantor, which makes him a decent guy in my book.

Now, rather than shove another recording device in Whit Babcock's face, I chose to speak to the "Big Bossman" on the man he delivered from the "Show-Me" state.

President Dr. Greg Williams is as in tune with college athletics as any of those I've covered at UC. I've also already interviewed him more than any previous President. Here's the latest:

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