Eric Hyman is very much the CEO type of AD that have come to run college athletics. They kiss the wallets that need to be kissed, push around the coaches and administrators that they can push, and let the football and men's basketball coaches do what they want.
For that reason Texas A&M's decision to hire Hyman is a good one. Whatever you think personally of the man, he has been in charge of successful athletic departments, from Miami of Ohio to TCU to South Carolina.
Was Eric the benefit of tremendous timing at TCU? Yes. He will be the first one to admit it. I never have believed he was the one who hired Dennis Franchione, and that he really didn't want to promote Gary Patterson. Who cares? Both happened on his watch and he gets the credit.
Eric is an exceptionally politically savvy man, and he has always been able to recognize who the most powerful people in the room are. It may be the football coach, especially if his last name is Spurrier. Or it could be a very wealthy booster. He knows when it is time to stand firm on one side of the fence, when it is time to sit on the fence, and when it's time to go with the masses. It's called survival.
His political awareness and ability to manage relationships will be tested in College Station in a way they were not in Fort Worth.
He now works for a school that has shown it has no problem going around the AD to get what it wants. His predecessor, Bill Byrne, never wanted the SEC, and he didn't want to fire Mike Sherman.
Hyman's challenge will be coming into an athletic department that is already very successful, with the tiny exception of one little sport. Byrne found winners at every position but football.
Which means Kevin Sumlin already should be sweating. Should Sumlin not work out, Byrne is going to get the blame even though it appears he had almost nothing to do with the hire. With a new contract in a new conference, Sumlin should be allowed the normal grace period. Or he should.
If the Aggies aren't winning, I expect Eric to be savvy enough to cooperate with the most powerful people in the room. There won't be any reason to go around his back.
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