Auburn Team News

Auburn fans should be excited and concerned about hiring of Allen Greene

Allen Greene
COURTESY OF BUFFALO ATHLETICS

Auburn has decided to hire Buffalo athletic director Allen Greene to replace Jay Jacobs. Greene, 40, has been an athletic director for only two years.

What Auburn fans should like most about Allen Greene

When Jacobs announced his decision to resign after 13 years in the AD chair at Auburn, I immediately wrote that the most important quality the Tigers’ next athletic director must possess is outside thinking. In this case, being an “Auburn Man” (or woman) would be a drawback.

For too long, Auburn’s athletic department has suffered from too much insular thinking, too many people who’ve only seen how it works at Auburn, too few people with outside experiences to draw from and bring to the Plains.

Allen Greene checks this box nine times over. He is a complete outsider.

Allen Greene was born and raised in Seattle. He holds his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame (where he played baseball). He received his Master’s degree from Indiana. Much of his college athletics administration career comes at Notre Dame and then Buffalo.

The closest he came to Auburn was three years at Ole Miss working in the development department, as a fundraiser.

It’s possible Greene never set foot on Auburn’s campus before interviewing for this position – maybe he still hasn’t. That’s OK.

I hope Greene is able to bring all of those outside influences to Auburn and modernize the athletic department. Auburn needs new people, new processes, new influences – new influencers – new ideas and a new energy inside the athletic department to meet its full potential.

What Auburn fans should be most concerned about with Allen Greene

Greene is green, to use a bad pun.

He takes over one of college sports’ behemoth athletic departments with only two years of athletic director experience, at Buffalo. For the 2015-16 school year, Auburn had the 10th-largest athletic budget in college sports; Buffalo had the 78th, which is higher than I expected it to be.

The scale of Buffalo – from staff size to stadium size to pressure, budget, scrutiny – when compared to Auburn almost makes his experience there irrelevant. That worries me.

What you’ll read about his track record at Buffalo, from on-field success to fundraising and academics, in my view is largely the result of momentum built at Buffalo by his predecessor, Danny White. White is a young superstar AD who’s now at UCF – yes, that UCF, which just beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl with a coach White hired. White was on my initial target list for Auburn’s new athletic director.

I worry that Greene’s success at Buffalo was teed up by White.

Greene never has hired a football coach. Hopefully, he won’t have to for years at Auburn, but I wish he had a track record of successfully doing so. He’s never hired a men’s basketball coach or a woman’s basketball coach or a baseball coach. In two years at Buffalo, I’m not sure he’s ever hired a coach.

That’s a concern.

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