This article appeared as part of the Nexus’ April Fools’ edition.
Following an eight-hour interview yesterday, television and radio personality Jim Rome was named UCSB’s new athletic director, a shocking development in the search for outgoing A.D. Gary Cunningham’s replacement. Rome, a 1987 graduate of UCSB, wowed the 19-member search committee with witty repartee and a healthy dose of his famous smack talk. Not originally thought to be on the radar for the job, Rome emerged as a viable candidate when members of the search committee stumbled across a YouTube.com clip of a 1994 ESPN interview in which Rome was attacked by former NFL quarterback Jim Everett after repeatedly calling him Chris, a reference to female tennis star Chris Evert.
“Everyone on the search committee was pretty impressed with the cojones, if you will, that it took to challenge an NFL player’s manhood on national television,” a source close to the search said. “If he’s willing to compare a pro athlete to a woman, you can imagine that he won’t have any problem staring down anyone who gets in the way of UCSB athletics.”
An official announcement is pending, as Rome and the university still have a number of issues to clear up before moving forward. Rome is expected to continue hosting his national sports talk radio show, as he is in the process of moving his production team to KCSB. The move is pending approval by KCSB, as several station programmers are fighting hard to hold on to their early morning spots despite the fact that Rome averages millions of listeners, far more than the KCSB average of eight listeners per hour. Rome and ESPN are still trying to work out a way to broadcast “Rome Is Burning” from UCSB’s campus, with the top of Storke Tower being talked about as one possibility for a new studio.
While he doesn’t have any administrative experience, Rome should excel in his new capacity as primary fundraiser for the Athletic Dept. Building on his connections in the pro sports world, plans are already in the works for a sports memorabilia auction, which is expected to more than triple the Athletic Dept.’s current budget of $7,500. When reached for comment, fellow ESPN commentator J.A. Adande assured the Nexus that Rome would have no trouble turning Gaucho sports into a big-time operation.
“First of all, let me welcome you to the J.A. Adande lounge where today’s guests include… wait, you asked about Romey? He’ll do fine,” Adande said. “He knows plenty of people, I mean the guy has Roger Lodge as a commentator for his T.V. show. Roger freaking Lodge. Who else out there has the host of ‘Blind Date’ on their speed dial. He’ll use those connections to raise plenty of money.”
Barring a contractual setback, Rome is expected to take over as athletic director later this month, with his first order of business being the renaming of UCSB’s basketball arena from the Thunderdome to “The Jungle,” a reference to his rabid radio show.
“We’re all clones now, and [Rome] seems like the right guy to take the Gauchos to the next level, or clone-stock as he called it,” the source said. “He promised to make Gaucho sports such a big deal that they’re even more talked about than Bar-Roids and ManRam. I don’t know what that means exactly, but it sounds clever.”
While UCSB soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg was once thought of as the favorite for the job, Rome wrapped up the search before Vom Steeg and a number of other candidates could even be interviewed. Associate Media Relations Director Ryan Hall was scheduled to be interviewed right after Rome, but Hall never got his chance to shine as Rome reportedly talked for eight straight hours before Cunningham and Chancellor Yang finally stopped him and offered him the job. Asked what he was told regarding the interview process, Hall confirmed that it was Rome himself who informed him of the new regime.
“He came out of the interview room and held up his own teleprompter before telling me that the process was done,” Hall said. “Then for some reason he started yelling at everyone to ‘have a take and don’t suck.’ It was weird and kind of hard to understand. It’s like he just makes words and names up as he goes along.”