After Randy Spetman interviewed to be Florida State's next athletic director Friday, his wife, Becky, made it a point to pop into the campus bookstore and pick out a Seminoles tie for him.
A prescient purchase, to say the least.
Spetman wore it - garnet with F-S lettering outlined in gold - Monday morning when school president T.K. Wetherell introduced him to succeed Dave Hart.
"I don't think I've seen anybody more excited to come to Florida State University since I got elected to come to Florida State University," said Wetherell, who said a guideline for choosing among four finalists was that he wanted "someone who wanted us more than we wanted them."
When Spetman, 55, who has been an athletic director for more than a decade at his alma mater - the Air Force Academy - and at Utah State, got the call from Wetherell this weekend, he nearly cried.
"This is a dream come true for Becky and me," Spetman said as he thanked his new boss for "having the trust and confidence" in him.
He then slipped back into his days in the military:
"I can guarantee you, sir, I won't disappoint you."
Other candidates who interviewed last week were former FSU athletic department administrator Wayne Hogan, the only other candidate with experience as an AD; former FSU and Bucs football player Martin Mayhew, an executive with the Detroit Lions; and former Florida Marlins president Don Smiley.
"We brought in some individuals; all of them different, all of them outstanding," said Wetherell, who at the recommendation of consultant Chuck Neinas met with Spetman a few weeks ago.
Neinas trumpeted Spetman to USF in spring 2004 when he was up for the athletic director job there, but questions arose about his ability to raise funds.
Wetherell wanted someone with a hands-on style, dedicated to the women's program, committed to excellence on the field and in the classroom and who lived by "honor, loyalty, tradition, integrity."
Wetherell said a five-year contractwith a five-year option will give Spetman a base salary that surpasses his own, which is $300,595, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. (His total deal is worth $702,000.) At Utah State, Spetman reportedly earned about $172,000 annually.
With bonuses based largely on student-athlete academic performance and graduation rates, Wetherell said, the deal will put Spetman in the top "three or four of the ACC" but "embarrassingly low" compared with the $1.2-million that Florida's Jeremy Foley can earn.
Spetman said he will begin the job by the middle of next week. There are numerous senior-level staff openings and fallout from an academic misconduct scandal involving dozens of student-athletes in at least nine sports. A final report to the NCAA is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.
"It was a bump in the road ... and I don't think it has jeopardized anything that this university represents," Spetman said of the scandal. "These student-athletes at Florida State set the bar for others in the nation to emulate. My goal is to continue to build on the storied tradition."
Times correspondent Jamey Givens contributed to this report. Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com
Meet Randy Spetman
Family: wife Becky,children Brian and Kim
Alma mater: The Air Force Academy, 1976. Played football and boxed.
Military career: Retired colonel. Served for more than 28 years, including as a pilot with more than 3,000 hours of flight time, as the chief of bomber planning in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and as director at the U.S. European Nuclear Command and Control System and European airlift support in Germany (1994-95).
Athletics career: Athletic director at Air Force (1995 to 2004); Utah State (July 2004 to February 2008).