Rochelle seems like a fit for foundation

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Sean Rochelle, center, grew up in Arkansas and has Chris Wyrick's support to take over as the executive director.
Photo by Ashley Batchelor
Sean Rochelle, center, grew up in Arkansas and has Chris Wyrick's support to take over as the executive director.

— Sean Rochelle seems like a natural to take over the reins as executive director of the Razorback Foundation.

Chris Wyrick’s promotion to vice chancellor for advancement at the University of Arkansas after five months on the job could have been a problem, but moving Rochelle, who has been with the foundation since 2008, would be a seamless transition.

Apparently, there was some strong support for Rochelle from within the Razorbacks Foundation board of directors when Harold Horton retired.

Incidentally, the foundation’s board is strong and insightful. It consists of Ralph Bradbury, Dr. Bo Busby, Richard Chapman, Jeanne Mailes Groff, Quinn Grovey, Kenneth Mourton, Charles Scharlau, Gene Hudson, Jim Lindsey and Scott Bull.

That’s former lettermen, doctors and lawyers, all of whom are successful professionally.

Of course, Athletic Director Jeff Long has a strong say, too. It was no secret Wyrick was his guy the last time, but Wyrick was the one who headed up the Answer The Call campaign that raised $6.5 million and added more than 2,680 new donors.

Which probably has a lot to do with him answering the call to take over a troubled department at the UA.

Rochelle played football at Arkansas-Monticello, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, but the Elkins native received his master’s degree and doctorate from the UA and is a strong supporter of everything Razorback.

He is personable, well-liked and a hard worker, and there has been concern among the Razorbacks Nation that fewer people with state ties seem to be getting hired, which isn’t unusual in today’s world of perspiring arts.

College athletics has become very businesslike as budgets have skyrocketed, but so has television revenue (primarily ESPN), and fundraising becomes more critical every year, especially at schools that have construction on campus and more planned.

More than likely, Long will make a few calls, talk to a few people and then make a recommendation to the foundation, which will listen and then take a vote.

Rochelle just seems like a natural for the spot, and he has paid his dues.

When the story broke that three University of Alabama football players had been charged with knocking students unconscious and stealing their wallets, and a fourth with using a stolen debit card, it was like walking down memory lane.

Last May, three Razorbacks were charged with burglary.

Marquel Wade, who was being counted on heavily in football, Maudrecus Humphrey and Andrew Peterson were arrested for stealing laptops and textbooks out of fellow students’ dorm rooms.

They never played for the Razorbacks again. And they shouldn’t have.

Stealing is not an accident.

It is a crime, and it hurts not just the football team, but the reputation of an entire school.

It might make it a little worse that the three Crimson Tide players used actual force to steal, but the bottom line is they are bad for the school and the football program.

Obviously, anyone who steals is being selfish, and football is - and always will be - a team sport.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban can investigate all he wants, but if they are guilty they have to go.

Ticket sales for the March 8 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet in Little Rock are crisp, but there is still time to be a part of one of Arkansas’ biggest nights in sports.

Tickets are $100, tables $1,000, and more information on this spectacular event is available by calling the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at (501) 663-4328 or Catherine Johnson at (501) 821-1021.

Eight new honorees will be inducted, and dozens of past inductees will be recognized.

Sports, Pages 19 on 02/15/2013