Current NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson is unequivocally THE BEST / ONLY Choice to be the next President of the UNC System. That is not debatable.
(NOTE: Some of you may recall back in January, I floated “Eeeevil Art” Pope as a possible next Prez. That was simply a ploy to send Chapel Hill into full delirium mode. It worked. Art told me recently he received “some interesting emails” after I posted that. Hehehehe!)
Convincing Randy to take the thankless job is “the issue”. Was Hercules eager to muck out The Augean Stables?
I have had this column on hold for several months, since John “Trainwreck” Fennebresque did his tongue-tied bull in a china shop sorta-kinda firing Tommy “Bagman” Ross as current President of the much maligned UNC System. Fennebresque is the current Chairman of the 32-member UNC Board of Governors.
Why do I call Tommy Ross “Bagman”? Because from 2001 – 2007, Ross was “bagman” for the radical left-wing Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Ross’ job was to raise and launder beau coups of bucks for ZSRF to wage political war against anyone / anything that was in opposition to ZSRF’s hard-line left-wing political agenda.
… Ross’ pals downplay his six years as a high-level “political operative” preferring the pristine image of Tom as the kindly president of Davidson or as a member of the North Carolina judiciary; but Tom Ross IS a “left-wing political operative”. Enough about Tommy Ross.
The “firing” (??) of “Z. Smith” Tom back in January was handled as non-adroitly as a cub bear trying to thread a needle while wearing oven mitts. It is inconceivable how such a “one car funeral” could have been bungled as thoroughly as Fennebresque bungled that. But thoroughly bungled it was.
Randy Woodson has expressed a handful of quite logical reasons for not being interested in being President of The UNC System. Having to deal with John Fennebresque would be high on anyone’s list.
I’m sure John Fennebresque has some admirable qualities. So does Joe Biden I’m told. Legendary Banking Mogul Hugh McColl must think so as Fennebresque was “his lawyer on speed-dial”. Maybe you could still find a clerk at Moore Van Allen that would have a favorable anecdote about Pistol-packin’ John’s aborted tenure at that juggernaut law firm.
Maybe NC Senate President Phil Berger actually thought Fennebresque had the skill set to chair the UNC BOG. Why else would Phil have greased the skids for Fennebresque’s rise to Chairman. OK, there could be other rea$on$…. wink, wink.
Come on Phil. Do us all a big favor. Give John his fat check back and make him go away….. sooner, not later, please. Yeah yeah John claims to “dearly love UNC”. Dickie Baddour “dearly loved UNC” too. The comparison of “two loose cannons on a rolling deck” doesn’t stop there.
Offer John an ambassadorship to Vermont. Whatever, just get him off the BOG before he can do any more damage.
Hang on. I’ll get to Why Randy in a minute. Getting rid of “Trainwreck” is key to that.
The UNC BOG has hired a search firm for $150,000 to find some fog-a-mirror whozit who will take the UNC System Prez gig. Someone who will NOT do their own due diligence on “Trainwreck”. If they do, they won’t take the gig. It’s a variation on Groucho Marx’s “I won’t join any club that would have me as a member.”
So long as Fennebresque is Chairman of the UNC BOG, the buzzards, vultures and hyenas of the regional media will never go hungry. As with “Bozo” Joe Biden, just poke John with a stick and be sure your recorder is on. Fennebresque, will be “the story” about anything involving the UNC BOG so long as he is its Chairman.
There are some darn fine folks currently on the Board of Governors. Men and women of character and accomplishment thoroughly capable of piloting the 18-campus battleship in a quite capable fashion. Sure, the goggle-eyed rabid bats that roost along “quaint Franklin Street” will never agree so long as even one BOG member has an “R” after his/her name but the constipated screeches of the Franklin Streeters – a/k/a “the Gene Nichol Gang” – are increasingly irrelevant.
Is the UNC BOG a partisan political organization? No more so today than it was for the 30+ years it was in the iron fists of the Basnight/Rand/Black regime. Anyone who claims otherwise is either a fool, terminally naïve or both. Appointments to the BOG have ALWAYS been “bought” thru political patronage. Emphasis on the word ALWAYS.
OK…. so “Trainwreck” goes away. To be replaced by one of several qualified candidates. Phil, call me if you need “a short list”.
So assuming a Fennebresque-less UNC BOG….. Why Randy Woodson?
NOTE: There is a school-of-thought that the System Prez position is best served by a non-academic / a CEO-type in the mold of CD Spangler and Erskine Bowles. All thing equal I agree with that model, but these are especially roiling times. Ergo, I suggest “an academic” who has demonstrated a CEO-management mentality which, IMO, Randy Woodson has done as NCSU Chancellor.
To borrow a BobLee phrase, Randy has proven to be a “Sarah Lee” academic executive. As in “….. nobody doesn’t like Sarah Lee / Randy Woodson”. Now being “liked” is certainly not a criteria for executive competency. Being Universally Respected is and Randy Woodson is “Universally Respected” among NCSU faculty, staff, students, alumni and among his peers across America.
Whether one is a University Chancellor or a grill cook at WAFFLE HOUSE, to make an omelette you gotta break a few eggs. I’m sure in his five years as NCSU Chancellor, Randy has made decisions that favored one faction over another be it a faculty, student, staff matter. The “sorry Charlies” might sulk at having their wishes denied by Randy; but no one questions that Randy Woodson has shown the “sand in his gizzard” that effective leaders must have.
His hiring Debbie “Frau” Yow as NCSU AD was a high-risk decision…. that seems to have been an artful one. Credit Randy Woodson.
As opposed to two other local university administrators at a certain “Flagship” and a private institution over in West Derm who seem to “step in something” on a regular basis.
Is Randy a “D”? Probably but that should not be a deal-breaker. I know a handful of decent “D’s”. Certainly no evidence that Randy is an ideologue like “Z. Smith” Tommy.
Randy has all the academic cred one could imagine. It is on the real-world science side rather than with the navel-gazing Lib-Arts squirrels which is a BIG PLUS to everyone except to the Lib-Arts squirrels…. whose opinions we already marginalized above. Granted he is “not from around here” but neither are an increasingly large number of our citizens. He’s been here long enough to understand “bless your heart” has numerous meanings.
Randy’s five years at NCSU have given him a Ph.D in UNC System and enough working understanding of this state to know what “from Murphy to Manteo” means. Odds are he can even locate Cullowhee on a map, or at least come close.
By comparison, former UNC System Diva Molly Broad never knew (or cared) that Tar Heel is two words and hushpuppy is one word. Molly and Meezer were quite a scary pair.
Randy knows where “Jones Street” is and can walk those halls without getting lost or stumbling over any of Bully Barber’s human detritus. When Randy comes acalling on “the honorables” for support of UNC System concerns, he will be welcomed, not shunned. That fact alone makes Randy Woodson THE ONLY suitable choice for this important position.
Randy is NOT bloated by Flagship Kool-Aid which is also an ENORMOUS PLUS in his favor. The UNC System has been Franklin Street-centric waaaaay too long. Under President Randy, the UNC System will NOT be “UNCCH and the 17 dwarfs”. YIPPEE!
Randy will hit the deck as UNC Prez in a full operational sprint. No six months “get acquainted” period.
The media weasels will still hate the BOG because of that “R” thing but will adore “President Randy” who can/will run effective interference for the Board.
Absolutely NO ONE that the $150,000 search firm will dig up will be able to hold a candle to Randy Woodson. They will find some “next Molly Broad” galoot out there that they will tout, but why bother?
I’ve heard (thru my many super secret back channels) why Randy is saying “gee thanks fellas; but no thanks”. I respect his well-thought-out criteria which only solidify why he is THE ONLY choice.. Working with Fennebresque would be reason enough for most folks. I’ve eliminated that one up above. So….
(1) Dump “Trainwreck” then….
(2) Send a committee of functioning adults bearing gifts to get Randy Woodson.
Offer Randy $1,250,000/per (about 50% of what Goofy Ol’ Roy makes) and be prepared to jack that to $1.5 if necessary. Tommy Ross is at $600,000 (Gene Chizik tops that as “an assistant coach”). Any whozit the search firm digs up will demand “at least a mill” and not be worth half of it.
Give Randy a five-year no-cut guarantee. I predict he will be there AT LEAST 10 years. Assure him he will NOT have to live in that Addams Family mausoleum on Franklin Street. That’s another deal-breaker to most normal folks.
If push comes to shove and Randy is still wavering, bring me in to unveil Plan B of my Awesome UNC System Master Plan. That will seal the deal…. and REALLY piss off the Franklin Street gang.
Could all this actually happen? Absolutely. Will it? That depends on who, and how many whos, see this commentary….. and THAT is up to YOU.