Top 11: Candidates For University of Washington President

The University of Washington lost its president on Tuesday when Mark Emmert opted to take on the same role with the NCAA. Somehow, I can’t blame him.

Despite a limited background in college sports, Emmert was a visible figure in the athletic departments at each of his last two schools, Washington and Louisiana State. As chancellor at LSU, Emmert was largely credited with helping build the foundation that brought the school two BCS National Football Championships. At Washington, he replaced embattled athletic director Todd Turner with current AD Scott Woodward, and also played a significant role in the hiring of football coach Steve Sarkisian.

With Emmert moving on to Indianapolis to hold court over the world of collegiate athletics, the UW will undoubtedly begin a search for the next president at Washington. While we will likely not be solicited for advice during the hiring process, we’d humbly like to suggest 11 viable candidates who could capably step into the role of Top Dawg and fill Emmert’s shoes.

11. Beverly Cleary

She’s the author of those Ramona chapter books you read as a kid.

She’s also a 94-year-old UW alum.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that 94 might be a little old to run an entire university. Whatever. You’ll thank me when she starts handing out free cookies and making nap time part of the curriculum.

10. Bill Clinton

A dark horse for the position, Clinton is rumored to have a strong background in presidential roles. He also might be looking to get away from his wife, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Seattle could be the perfect place to do just that.

Though certain infidelities dot his past, the liberal environment around the Washington campus should provide a welcoming haven for the Arkansas native.

9. Tim Lincecum

Heavily endorsed by the school’s pot-smoking community, Lincecum would revolutionize the role of university president.

Working directly with the state, we could expect the campus of the University of Washington to become a marijuana-legal zone. Major renovations for the baseball stadium could also be anticipated, and classes would eventually get moved from an 8:30 a.m. start time to around noon.

Campus convenient stores would no longer charge for snacks, and shoes would be optional.

Lincecum would likely become the first UW president to move his office into a tree house, and lecture halls would be replaced by instructional solariums.

8. Patrick Duffy

Whether you know him as Bobby Ewing from Dallas or the dad from Step By Step, one fact remains: Duffy is a 1975 UW alum.

More recently, the famous television actor has been spotted doing ads for a hearing aid company, which means three things. One, I’m getting old. Two, he’s getting old. And three, he’s probably not very busy right now. Which essentially means that he’s free to take on the new challenge of president of his alma mater.

Fun fact: Duffy is the uncle of Tim Lincecum’s San Francisco Giants teammate Barry Zito. So it’s entirely possible that he could team up with Lincecum to help run the university.

7. Terry Swanson

Many of you may not know who Terry Swanson is. Rest assured, he’s one of the best candidates for the position.

A professor of geology at UW, Swanson is the one faculty member on campus who I can assure you loves his job.

The primary instructor of the school’s Geology 101 class (aka Rocks for Jocks), Swanson (pictured, at right) once earned himself a standing ovation from a lecture hall of over 700 students back in 2003. Seriously. I was there. Never saw anything like it again.

Having developed a working relationship with many of the school’s athletes (hence the Rocks for Jocks alias for his course), Swanson could immediately provide the same influence over the athletic program that Emmert did before him.

The fact that the students already enjoy Swanson’s presence would perhaps make him the most beloved president in Washington’s long and storied history.

6. Joel McHale

The host of The Soup on E!, as well as the star of NBC’s Community, McHale is a Seattle native who graduated from Washington in 1995 with a degree in history. Surprisingly, the 6’3″ actor also spent two years as a tight end on the Husky football team in the early-’90s.

Blessed with the ability to charm audiences and entertain large groups of people, McHale could easily woo boosters and secure funding for various projects at the school. His diverse background at Washington (in addition to his athletic accomplishments and bachelor’s in History, McHale also holds a Master in Fine Arts degree) would enlighten the 38-year-old to a varying degree of would-be supporters, cementing his role as the most amicable president of all-time.

5. Bob Condotta

The University of Washington beat reporter for The Seattle Times, Condotta means more to Husky fans than many individuals currently employed by the school.

In spite of the fact that Condotta didn’t attend UW, his vast wisdom of the university — and more specifically the university’s athletic department — would make him an ideal candidate to replace Emmert. His ability to create wonderfully-worded prose on the purple-and-gold would only help his cause.

4. Paul Schell

Schell is best known to area natives as the former mayor of Seattle, a role in which he served from 1998 through 2001.

Many folks, however, may be unaware that Schell was once employed as the dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Washington in the mid-’90s.

Of course, at age 72 such a drastic career move for the presently-retired Schell could be a tough task, but we like to think he’d be up to the challenge.

And yes, there is a certain bit of scandal surrounding his past foray into politics, most notably with his handling of the WTO riots of 1999. But hey, look on the bright side. At least he’s not Greg Nickels.

3. Warren Moon

The early favorite amongst University of Washington fraternity members, Moon is a 1978 alum who famously led the Husky football team to a Rose Bowl victory (over Michigan) in that same year.

A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 53-year-old Moon has had his legacy tainted by just the right amount of public disrepute you’d expect of a president. In the past, the ex-signal-caller has been accused of domestic abuse and DUI, charges which were later dropped or lessened.

The fact that Moon has kept himself on the straight-and-narrow for the past couple years should be enough to help him lay claim to the vacant position. His philanthropic work in the community will further endear him to those crazy hippies that want to save the world and all that junk.

2. Rainn Wilson

Best known as Dwight Schrute on the NBC sitcom The Office, Wilson is a Seattle-area native who attended the University of Washington once upon a time.

If he could possibly channel his Office character, Wilson would turn UW into arguably the most efficient four-year institution in the entire country. It might not be a fun place to work or go to school, but costs would undoubtedly remain low and things would get accomplished at a blistering rate.

A self-proclaimed independent, Wilson is a fervent moderate who represents ideals in all political parties. His varying beliefs could help him relate to a wide array of people on his way to the top.

1. Lorenzo Romar

The one man who could arguably run for president of anything in Seattle and win, Romar has all the traits one would seek to lead the university.

A UW alumnus and the third all-time winningest coach in the history of the basketball program, Romar bleeds Husky colors and embodies everything the school is looking for in a president. He’s a winner, a proven leader, a stand-up individual, and one of the best representatives of the University of Washington.

In all seriousness, Romar might not be ready to take on the challenge of school president just yet, but a few years from now he might very well have Dawg fans singing Hail To The Chief.

8 thoughts on “Top 11: Candidates For University of Washington President”

  1. I nominate Detlef Schrempf for the job of UW President. He IS a graduate of the UW (this seems to be a prerequisite of your list), he is an athlete of prestige both for the UW and professionally, he has enough $’s already with a better house than the UW can provide (he could commute by boat to his job), and he is semi retired, with a fantastic networking base already in place for raising money. These reasons alone could save the UW millions of dollars as I’m almost certain Detlef could be convinced to take on the job pro bono. Oh! and one other money saver, he can drive and knows his way around Seattle so no chauffeur. I say WIN WIN!

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