Robinson has had his duties shifted, and will now focus mostly on
fundraising and PR. Though the University is pushing the idea that it's no
big deal, an assistant athletic director, Jim Miller, is going to take over. Les
and President Fox say it's no big deal. Les told the N&O that "I plan to honor my contract and from that point we'll see what happens down the road. But for right now, I'm going full speed ahead. I have a vision and a plan for the next year and a half."
He says it was the plan from the beginning that he focus on fundraising.
Fox says that no one cares when she reassigns financial responsibility in the
In general, we'd take this as not exactly a demotion, but certainly not a
ringing affirmation. Most State fans are probably ok with it; there has
been a certain unease over Les Robinson's stewardship, but that is tempered by
the very real affection everyone has for the man.
That leads us to another interesting issue which will likely affect all three
Triangle schools in varying degrees: how the athletic departments, and fans and
alums, react to women being in charge since Duke is headed by Keohane, UNC by
Broad, and State by Fox: a Broad, a Fox, and a Keohane? Who knew? At Duke one
could argue that this has already happened with the AD succession. At UNC, it
wasn't a problem when Baddour ascended because Dean was thoroughly in charge of
that, and at State the move to reassign Robinson will likely be a popular one.
Nonetheless, at some point we predict friction between one of these formidable
women and the athletic institutions they are now overseeing, perhaps when a
major transition is either underway or perceived as necessary. State is
perhaps least likely to suffer this; Fox comes from an old Southwestern school,
and she seems to embrace the athletics program pretty tightly. But
somewhere the old boy way of doing things will have a serious collision with a
woman who is in charge.