One of the big roles of an athletic director at a university is taking care of contracts.
BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe didn’t have any announcements to make regarding either the program’s ESPN contract or the contract of Cougar head football coach Kalani Sitake — but he didn’t seem particularly concerned about them either.
With regards to the television deal, Holmoe simply said that he was “in discussions right now,” but frequently referred to the partnership with the sports media giant when he talked about bowl bids and game start times.
“We played Saint Mary’s (in men’s basketball) last week on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.,” Holmoe said. “I had to take a nap at 6 p.m. to make it, but after the game I had friends that I had made from being on the basketball committee and from around the country texting me, congratulating us on the win. If we are not on ESPN or ESPN2, they aren’t going to see that.”
When he was asked about Sitake’s contract, Holmoe responded by saying that BYU doesn’t often extend a contract when there are still two years remaining.
“We have a plan and a process,” Holmoe said. “This isn’t the last year of his contract. We have rarely gone into it before the last year of a contract. I’ve spoken with Kalani — my goal is to talk to him every day — and we talk about all kinds of things. I’ve asked if he’s OK and he said he’s good.”
He added that he felt it was the right time to extend the contract of Cougar head men’s basketball coach Dave Rose to 2020-21, a decision that was announced last November.
“There are factors in play based on a number of issues,” Holmoe said. “That was important too, for me.”
While that may be the case, Holmoe also said that his main focus right now is strengthening the football and basketball programs.
“I’m not going to say anything that is going to infuriate our coaches or players from other sports,” Holmoe said. “They fully understand that when football and basketball rise, the tide comes in and all ships rise. They all know that and they are super-supportive of that. But we are in a spot where we want to be better in those sports. We need that success. We understand the challenges. When I talk to the coaches and the players, they understand the challenges. They might not look at it from the perspective I do, but they understand.”
He said his evaluation of the athletic programs includes looking at academic and personal growth and success, but at the end of the day he wants to see wins.
“They are student-athletes and we have processes in place that take care of and advance them in areas off the court or field or out of the pool,” Holmoe said. “But I’m a coach and I’m a player. I like kids and teams that are chasing championships. I want them to be as good as they can in their sports. So do they. Our kids want that. That is a big part of the evaluation.”
He said he keeps his finger on the pulse of the various teams and is aware of what is being written and what people are talking about.
“My responsibility is to do that,” Holmoe said. “It seems silly when people say that I don’t care. I care. I care for our student-athletes, for their goals and what they want to achieve, I care for our coaches — but most importantly, I care for our programs. There is going to be a day when I’m not going to be in charge of our programs so when I am in charge of our programs, I need to do everything I can to lead and direct.”
He said he was pleased with some of the improvement he saw from the Cougars on the football field, although said there are still things that need to be done.
He also is working through the NCAA appeals process when it comes to the NCAA sanctions for violations from the BYU men’s basketball program and Nick Emery, saying it’s a slow process, but he expects an outcome to come sometime in 2019.