After the final two potential head football coaches for the Lumberjacks stepped back from visiting the campus at the last minute, a head group of boosters responded immediately and started a petition asking President Lisa Rossbacher to remove Interim Athletic Director Duncan Robins from the position.
“We believe Duncan is not qualified for the job,” said Jim Redde, “and he is basically trying to choke the football program.”
Redd is a major booster for the Lumberjacks, as well as the co-chairman of Save HSU Athletics, that was founded last year to help raise funds and keep the football program alive.
“[Duncan] does not interact with the community at all,” said Redd, “and he has not helped to do one thing in raising the $500,000 to save the program.”
Robins has been the interim AD since June and plenty of students, athletes, community members, alumni, and boosters feel that he has not put forth his best effort in helping the program stay alive and the athletic department succeed.
Robins explained that a full national search by a search committee took place before the five final potential coaches were chosen. Initially, there were 79 applicants for this position and after the search committee conducted verbal interviews with their top 15 choices, five were put forward for Duncan to consider.
“It is now my job to entice them with everything that is Humboldt,” Duncan said, “and let them know that they can help us rebuild this program.”
Former Head Coach Rob Smith stepped down from the position for reasons including the fact that he could just no longer work under Robins’ authority.
According to the boosters, both head coach Charlie Roche of Siskiyous and head coach Jeff Sims of Garden Community in Kansas backed out of visiting the campus this week. Roche was supposed to visit May 1 and Sims was supposed to visit May 3.
Roche was contacted, but prefers to speak about his decision after the search process has been completed.
The boosters suggest that these coaches stepped down because they would be forced to keep the current group of coaching assistants, be limited to a certain number of players, and be entering a hiring clause providing them with no security for their position.
Before the search began, several coaching assistants were hired to keep the program functioning through the spring. However, their contracts are only valid through the end of 2018.
The boosters believe that scenarios like this one are all a part of Duncans plan to slowly deteriorate the progression of the program.
“He has done some good things,” Redd said, “I’ve got to give him credit for helping the academic side of athletics.”
Duncan’s true motives for the football program have been exhibited after this major setback in finding a head football coach has come about, said the boosters. They believe he has intentionally stalled the hiring of a full time coach as his process to eventually get rid of the program altogether.
Redd states that his biggest issue is the fact that the community distrusts Duncan. The community is the Lumberjack’s biggest ally, and Redd argues that without trust from the athletic director, it is hard to stay supportive.
“I either have to turn my back on this program or fight for it,” said Redd, “and this athletic department is worth fighting for.”
The petition is expected to be online at https://savehsuathletics.com by the end of the week.