Tag:Ken Kendrick
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:14 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List: WV power broker speaks

Admit it, you couldn't get enough of Weekend Watch List so here's Son of ... comin' right at ya. 


No matter what conference West Virginia lands in, Ken Kendrick will be consulted.

The 68-year-old managing general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks is an alum. Let's just say he has given a few bucks to the university. He is a member of the school's governing board, the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.

Kendrick is a power broker who doesn't flaunt it. Not even when his school is one of those being held hostage in the Missouri-SEC-Big East crisis situation. West Virginia has been mentioned as a prime candidate to join the SEC at the same time the Big East considers it a cornerstone moving forward.

So when there were rumblings this week that West Virginia had received an invitation from the SEC -- turned out to be a false alarm, for now -- it seemed like it was time to pick Kendrick's brain.

His wife Randy is an Auburn grad. They were "front and center" for the Tigers' national championship win in Glendale, AZ. Kendrick believes that given a few years with access to SEC recruits, West Virginia could be on a par with Auburn.

You have to respect his opinion. Kendrick is a close friend of former coach Rich Rodriguez. The Mountaineers, as you might have noticed, haven't been the same since. Since Kendrick took over for Jerry Colangelo in 2004, the franchise has both bottomed out and soared. It went from last in the NL West n 2010 to a division title this year under Kirk Gibson, a likely manager of the year winner.

But his university is near and dear to Kendrick's heart. Here he talks about the various conference realignment issues that face his school

 

 

SOWWL: What is your reaction to this latest round of conference shuffling?

Kendrick: "There are a lot of rivalries that are at the cornerstone of sports that are kind of going away. It's part of the revenue streams that can be created.

"I'm in professional sports and revenue streams are what it's all about but something is getting lost in what the college experience should be.

"As a student back at West Virginia, the teams that we played -- Pitt and Penn State, the Syracuses and Virginia Tech -- all of that has kind of gone by the wayside and I'm sad about it."

 


SOWWL: Will the Big East survive?

Kendrick: "It's hard thing for me to even know other than just from afar. As it loses more and more teams, there is some chance that could happen and that would be sad .

"While they wouldn't be the SEC as it relates to football, which seems to be the driver, they've been pretty darn successful. For it to go away would be very sad for me."

 

 

SOWWL: What is the attractiveness of West Virginia to another conference?

Kendrick: "That's a really good question. I think West Virginia is attractive because it's had great success across the sports landscape. Success on the field should be appealing to any conference. We have a very rabid fan base. If you're a Mountaineer fan it's a real, real commitment.

"There isn't any professional sport in the state. West Virginia is the leading institution in the state. There are some downsides. It doesn't have that big city or large population that is more attractive to the media world and the purchasers of media rights.

"That's somewhat of a deficiency for the university ... We're maybe not as desired as some of these schools would be by larger conferences. If results on the field mattered, and they should be, we're a player in many sports."

 


SOWWL: You were talking about your knowledge of Auburn ...

Kendrick: "If you and I were to make a bet on it, and took all sports and all records, I would bet West Virginia's results would be ahead of theirs.

"I'd think we'd be very competitive [in the SEC]. When we went into the Big East in basketball, we had an era where we weren't as competitive. Once they got into the Big East in basketball, it allowed them to recruit better. The kids were looking at, 'OK, we're going to be playing the best competition.'

"We attracted [Bob] Huggins back, ... I think the potential, not on Day 1, but if you were an SEC team, it will enhance their recruiting opportunity. I think they'd be very competitive in the SEC. But the SEC is clearly the most elite football conference by far. If West Virginia right now today were playing in the SEC, I wouldn't predict them to win the championship.

"But given a few years of competing and recruiting and playing those schools, I think they'll do fine. Why not upgrade the competition if you have the opportunity?"

 


SOWWL: So what is your preference for West Virginia conference-wise?

Kendrick: "I think I don't have a preference. What I clearly don't want to see is West Virginia in a place where you're not playing top level competition. More likely, we're going to be in a good place no matter how this ends. I think it's unsettling to the whole world of college athletics that this is going on right now."

 
 
 
 
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