Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud announced the appointment of John Wildhack as the new athletic director for the Orange today, citing his unique qualifications and vast knowledge and passion for Syracuse athletics.
Wildhack, a 1980 graduate of Syracuse, has been ESPN’s executive vice president for programming and production since 2014, and has spent the past 36 years with the worldwide leader.
The announcement prompted a number of Wildhack’s colleagues – many of which are among the top names in sports media – to take to Twitter to vouch for the new face of Orange athletics.
Thank you John Wildhack for all you've done for me & others at ESPN. Great hire by @Cuse!
— Dave Pasch (@DavePasch) July 6, 2016
Every time I saw Wildhack in Bristol, he wanted to talk 'Cuse hoops. Diehard Syracuse guy.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 6, 2016
Congratulations to our boss, John Wildhack, the new Syracuse AD. A great 36-year run at ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 6, 2016
Syracuse announces ESPN's John Wildhack as AD. I want to publicly thank John for all his support. He has been a tremendous leader at ESPN.
— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) July 6, 2016
“John is an entrepreneurial, outside-the-box leader who brings an unparalleled set of skills and experiences to the director of athletics position,” Chancellor Syverud said in the school’s release. “As a leader at ESPN, he has demonstrated a keen ability to identify and implement strategies aimed at elevating the entire organization. That record of success, combined with his extensive history of building and inspiring teams, will allow him to immediately and positively impact the lives of our student-athletes.”
Wildhack replaces Mark Coyle who left for the Minnesota athletic director job, and he called the opportunity to lead the athletic program at Syracuse more than a dream job.
“To say this is a dream job would be a significant understatement. Syracuse University played a profound role in my life’s trajectory and I’m confident I wouldn’t be where I am without the education and opportunities this institution afforded me. To help my alma mater, in particular Syracuse student-athletes, continue to excel and grow, especially in light of the enormous investments being made, and that have been made in its facilities, is a tremendous responsibility and one I don’t take lightly. I am honored to have been selected and I look forward to collaborating with the amazing coaches and staff as we work to develop the whole student-athlete—inside and outside the classroom.”
In Wildhack, Syracuse is clearly getting someone that absolutely loves the university and is extremely loyal. Following Coyle’s departure after one year with the school, that seemed to be a high priority, and Wildhack’s track record at ESPN speaks for itself.
It may seem like an out of the box hire, but it also seems like just the thing Syracuse may have needed at this point in time.
Read more on Wildhack here, and stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.