May 19, 2024

touchdown during a game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa on Saturday, October 21, 2023. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)
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Will Deacon Hill be the QB next year?
As long as Cade McNamara recovers from his ACL injury without any issues, McNamara is expected to be Iowa’s starting quarterback. Deacon Hill would then presumably be the No. 2 quarterback although the quickly-ascending Marco Lainez could potentially challenge him for that spot in fall camp.

Especially considering McNamara’s injury history, it would not be a shock if the QB2 (whether that be Hill or Lainez) sees some playing time next year. In my three seasons on the beat, Iowa has dealt with quarterback injuries in all three seasons.

Why is Iowa spending money on a search firm when everyone seems to approve of the interim athletics director?
First of all, for those who did not see last week’s article, Iowa has established a search committee for a permanent AD and hired the search firm TurnkeyZRG to help.

A few thoughts in general about a search like this before I go into specifics of the Iowa situation …

It is certainly not unusual for a search firm to be hired to find the right candidate for a high-level university position like Iowa’s athletics director position. The University of Iowa also must conduct open searches as part of its equal-opportunity policy (unless it files a search waiver, which often happens).

Now, looking at this specific situation …

Iowa already has a very capable candidate in interim AD Beth Goetz. Brad Stevens and Geno Auriemma both sang her praises to me this summer, publicly urging the university to make her the permanent AD. Goetz also has won over the coaches currently working for her, with women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder and men’s wrestling coach Tom Brands being especially vocal in their support.

There’s the argument for at least seeing what’s out there, but when Goetz is such an obvious option, that could be a deterrent for possible candidates to stick their neck out to apply. (Does a sitting AD at a Power Five school really want to advertise that they aren’t totally satisfied where they are without the upside of having a realistic shot at the job?)

We know TurnkeyZRG’s compensation will be a percentage of the permanent AD’s first-year total compensation. I have a few pending open records requests that should hopefully shed light on what exactly is that percentage.

That’s a long way of saying this could potentially turn into an expensive way of finding out the best candidate has been in Iowa City the whole time.

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