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BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University athletic director Paul Krebs used to be Andy Geiger's right-hand man at Ohio State.
Now Krebs is considered one of the leading candidates to replace Geiger, who abruptly announced his retirement as Ohio State's athletic director a week ago today as multiple scandals continue to plague the Buckeyes' football and basketball programs.
Krebs, 48, admitted yesterday that he is intrigued by the opening at Ohio State.
"I have a great job here at Bowling Green," he said. "I work for great people and the people who work for me are great. Good things are happening at Bowling Green. I am proud to be a part of it. I'm very happy here; my family is very happy here.
"Having said that, the Ohio State position is one of the top, if not the top, jobs in the country. I think most athletic directors would be interested in that job. I'm sure they will attract a number of outstanding candidates."
Krebs spent 14 years at Ohio State and was a senior associate athletic director under Geiger when he was hired by Bowling Green on March 15, 1999.
While at Ohio State, Krebs managed the daily operation of the athletic department and coordinated and provided oversight for its then $58-million budget, directed its long-range financial planning and budget oversight/reporting programs.
He also was the point man in the planning and design of the $105-million Jerome Schottenstein Center for basketball and hockey, the $150-million renovation of Ohio Stadium for football, the $5-million Bill Davis Stadium for baseball and the 10,000-seat Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for track and field, lacrosse and soccer.
"Paul was the No. 2 guy when he was here, in terms of day-to-day operations," Ohio State athletic department spokesman Steve Snapp said. "He handled a lot of the nuts and bolts stuff and did a lot of the administrative work.
"Paul is a very, very talented guy. He did a great job for us in the athletic department."
Snapp said Ohio State is still in the process of forming a search committee, which will be headed by Joseph Alutto, dean of the Fisher College of Business. Snapp wouldn't speculate on whom the Buckeyes might interview for their athletic director's vacancy and Alutto did not return a phone call seeking comment on that subject.
Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, the president of Ohio State's alumni association, said last week that he's not interested in replacing the embattled Geiger, who won't officially step down until June 30. And football coach Jim Tressel, who held both jobs at Youngstown State, said he has no interest in doubling as the Buckeyes' athletic director.
Besides Krebs, possible candidates include former Ohio State basketball player Bill Hosket and Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, who replaced Geiger when he was hired as athletic director by Ohio State in 1994.
Krebs, who earns $140,454 annually at BGSU on a contract that runs through June 30, 2009, said he's not worried about the ongoing NCAA investigations into Ohio State's football and basketball programs, or the 15 player arrests that have dogged Tressel's program in his four seasons.
"It's Ohio State, and I don't think any of those things would deter anybody from pursuing the job," Krebs said. "I think most people would look at it as an opportunity."
Geiger, 65, is paid $296,784 a year to run one of the largest athletic departments in the country, with 36 sports and an annual operating budget that has grown in excess of $85 million.
Krebs manages 18 sports at Bowling Green, which competes in the Mid-American Conference. He led the charge to improve facilities including the installation of permanent lighting at Doyt Perry Stadium in August of 2001, the renovation of the locker rooms and new
offices at the BGSU Ice Arena, new bleachers and a press box at the baseball field, and a new infield and warning track for the softball team.
Krebs also made the controversial decision in March of 2002 to eliminate four men's sports - tennis, swimming, and indoor and outdoor track - to comply with Title IX. The move trimmed 16 scholarships and saved the school $360,000 a year.
"Paul Krebs is the best AD I've ever come across in all my years at Bowling Green," said Mike Wilcox, a member of the BGSU's Board of Trustees and a former lacrosse All-American at the school in the early 1970s. "We certainly hope Paul doesn't leave, but we know there are no guarantees. Ohio State has always been like a dream job for him."
One of Krebs' biggest strengths has been hiring coaches.
He hired Urban Meyer to replace Gary Blackney as the Falcons' football coach, and Meyer has since worked his magic at Utah and moved on to Florida. Krebs then promoted assistant Gregg Brandon to replace Meyer, and Brandon has produced back-to-back bowl victories.
Krebs replaced women's basketball coach Dee Knoblauch with Curt Miller and hockey coach Buddy Powers with Scott Paluch, and both of the programs are on the upswing. And Krebs rehired basketball coach Dan Dakich after his brief fling at West Virginia.
"Paul Krebs is great, he's solid," Brandon said. "He's an excellent administrator. I've really enjoyed my relationship with him. The best thing I can say about Paul Krebs is that he is a very dignified guy. He's a very classy guy. I think he'd be a great candidate at Ohio State.
"He administrates and does his AD end of things and lets us coach, which is huge. I don't have anyone looking over my shoulder all the time. He's been very supportive of me and my staff. And he's been very helpful in getting the salaries of my assistants up to a decent level."
Krebs also has found several different ways to maximize revenue opportunities for BGSU's athletic department, through radio and television.
"I think Paul's hiring came at a critical time six years ago," Wilcox said. "My hat goes off to Dr. Ribeau [president Sidney] for finding him. All of these athletic programs were financially leaking oil around the country, including us, and he's turned it around with his financial knowledge."
Krebs, a Canfield, Ohio, native, earned a bachelor's degree in business from Bowling Green in 1978 and a master's degree in athletic administration from Ohio State in 1981.
He began his professional career as the assistant ticket director at Oklahoma in 1981 before being promoted to the ticket director in 1983, a position he held for two years. He went to Ohio State in 1985 as the ticket director and he was named assistant athletic director in 1987.
In 1991, Krebs was promoted to assistant athletic director for administration, a position he held until 1993, when he was named senior associate athletic director. He was hired as BGSU's athletic director six years later.
"One thing about Paul is that he is very process-oriented," Wilcox said. "He doesn't come in and make knee-jerk reactions. He looks at everything first and evaluates it before making a decision. And he gives all of his coaches every opportunity to put their best foot forward.
"They say that the MAC is the cradle of coaches, and the cradle of quarterbacks, but it's also the cradle of administrators. I selfishly hope Paul doesn't go to Ohio State. But if he does, we'll wish him well and support him. He's done a great job for us."
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