By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) I quit. Take this columnist job and shove it.
Now … (your applause drowning me out) let me explain … (your cheers deafening) because I need to be clear here.
It’s not this job itself that has me ready to leave. Writing for 670TheScore.com has many perks. I enjoy warming your heart a few times a week in this little corner of the Internet. I don’t have to deal face-to-face with people. I can do this thing in my underwear in my living room or in my underwear at my desk at school.
But I’ve come to realize I could have it so much better participating in the greatest scam the sports world has to offer since Score Search. And so I must bid you adieu in order to put my energies full time into …
A search firm.
I’m starting my own, and I’m willing to service team professional and amateur, with tentative prospects of branching out to Fortune 500 companies.
With the University of Illinois hiring Josh Whitman as its new athletic director this week, I figure I need to strike while the iron is hot.
See, Illinois hired a search firm back in December at the cost of $140,000 to help find the woman or man who will undertake resurrecting the major Illini sports that are extra dead and heal festering internal wounds so deep they were recently chronicled on HBO’s Real Sports. That search yielded an athletic director at a Division-III school who played four years of football in Champaign and who the suits at Illinois presumably were well aware of already. And to top it off, the university’s search committee (not to be confused with the search firm) couldn’t come up with a decision on its own, so it recommended two candidates and let the interim chancellor pick.
Now I know why my application to attend the school was denied 15 years ago.
That’s what you get for $140,000? Not bad work if you can get it. Hell, the typical going rate for these firms is $75,000. That’s like four years worth of my high school teaching.
I presume starting my own search firm is another gig I could conduct largely in my underwear in a sitting position. Six figures would be a modest pay raise from The Score, too — even if you factor in those coupons for “Free Chris Rongey back rubs” that he promised all who work at the station receive and can renew monthly.
I mean, how could search firming not be like printing money? Look at DePaul, which doesn’t even have a football team to mock and yet somehow hasn’t figured out a way to buy a viable Big East basketball team. So DePaul brought in a search firm that led it … wait for it … back to a coach who’d already been its head coach in Dave Leitao.
Pro tip on putting together an NCAA hoops team while skirting the rules — don’t involve actual prostitutes. Keep the whoring in coach form only and the exploitation of bodies in the jerseys.
That’s the kind of sports expertise teams will get when they hire RedEye Consulting (because I’m a ginger and keep weird hours and it’s a play on words). Or Baffsearch. The name isn’t important right now. We’re still in the process of formalizing that and some of the mission statement. We’ve considered hiring an outside firm to help.
In the meantime, I plan on getting that Michigan man money.
“We created this map, a poster on the wall, that had about 10 variables that had a continuum,” University of Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett said after hiring Jim Harbaugh as football coach. “For example, do you want an offensive-minded coach or a defensive-minded coach? Do you want the spread vs. the pro set? Imagine 10-15 of these barbell diagrams; something on one end and something on the other. I got Lloyd Carr, Gary Moeller and others and said, ‘Let’s slide a ball across the diagram. Where do you think we need to be? What does it take to win in the Big Ten?’
“We came up with some red X’s. Then we took these candidates, and we put them on those barbells. We knew who was defensive-minded, who ran the spread. You could see the distance from their name and our X. When I was done, Harbaugh was closer to our X’s than anybody else. You go, ‘Duh, we could have told you that.’ We wanted to come out and make sure we weren’t talking ourselves into the candidate.”
And so Michigan hired the guy everyone knew would be Michigan’s coach before the San Francisco 49ers canned him. Duh, I could have told you that, Hackett, and for tens of grands cheaper than the upward of $200,000-plus you probably paid the firm Korn Ferry.
And, again, I’m a high school teacher (until I tell my principal to go kiss my meter stick in the coming weeks). You want stupid inconsequential posters on the wall and talking to a room of confused people who want an easy answer? That’s my damn milieu.
My services won’t be limited to the collegiate leeching level, by the way.
“He was invaluable,” Chicago Bears president Ted Phillips said of Ernie Accorsi, whom the team hired last year to help find a new general manager and coach after the ingrown hairs of Phil Emery and Marc Trestman were waxed from our collective bikini line. “He helped keep us focused. He helped keep that sense of urgency in the forefront of our minds. Going forward, if we have questions or (current Bears GM Ryan Pace) has a question, he’s just a phone call away.”
Being a high school teacher, I have easy access to all kinds of prescription drugs to ensure focus. And if your phone call is, “Should we hire a coach who has taken two teams to the Super Bowl?” as it was for the hiring of John Fox in Chicago, then I’m your discount consult of the future.
This is crushing news to you, I know, but this isn’t my last column here. I still have some logistics to work out, and Uncle Sam has this thing about paying taxes and verifying citizenship that I need to iron out. When that all gets straightened out, hey, maybe someday I’ll be hired back by The Score to find Dan Bernstein’s replacement when he’s finally fired. So consider this my two-week-and-more notice, and for now you’ll still be getting the same 60-to-80 percent effort you’ve come to enjoy in my writing.
Until I get my feet set in the brave new world of money burning.
I mean search firming.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.