approach keeps him out of the limelight just how
he likes it
athletics director Eric Hyman cautiously stays behind
world of college athletics is dominated by high-profile
coaches and players who are always in the spotlight of
However, sometimes a central figure remains elusive, only
appearing every now and then, and never in any depth.
In some cases, it could be the fault of a reporter for
never fully reporting an issue, but in the case of athletics
director Eric Hyman, it has more to do with skepticism.
Hyman acknowledged he can be skeptical of the media and
difficult to interview on occasion, depending on the information
people are trying to acquire. Regardless, he does not
perceive it as a bad thing.
Id call it healthy skepticism, Hyman
said. I represent the university, not a person or
a sport, and because of that, there are some things I
just cant talk about due to university policy.
People always want to know, for instance, how long
a contract is, or what the stipulations in a contract
are, and its policy not to talk about those things
and people take it the wrong way.
Hyman has been involved in a number of situations with
the media since being named athletics director of TCU
in 1997 that force him to practice his policy of healthy
skepticism. The most recent situation was in April 2003,
involving Hymans candidacy for the athletics director
position at the University of Tennessee and Gary Lundy,
a sportswriter for the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Lundy covered the Tennessee athletics director search
for the News Sentinel and said Hyman was the only candidate
he never talked to.
Ive been in this business for about 25 years,
and I believe he is the only athletics director to never
return a call, Lundy said. I put in probably
30 calls to him, and never got a response.
Hyman said he is usually protective when he is unfamiliar
with a person, and that in this particular case there
were factual errors in the story, and, having never dealt
with Lundy, he was skeptical.
Until I get to know someone and until I can be confident
they will be fair and objective, I am a little guarded,
Almost a year later, Lundy said he has no ill feelings
toward Hyman but said he just doesnt understand.
Im not losing any sleep over it, Lundy
said. Its his right to not call me back, but
if something was wrong with the story then thats
all the more reason to call and discuss it.
Although Hymans skepticism was something new to
Lundy, it is something past colleagues of Hyman are well
Eric Hyman is skeptical of the media? Miami
(Ohio) University President James Garland asked rhetorically.
I am stunned Eric is skeptical of the media; he
must have acquired that after he went to TCU, Garland
said, laying on the sarcasm even thicker, before changing
his tone to one of seriousness. Actually, I think
most people in administration guard what they say due
to the nature of the position and the information people
Prior to coming to TCU, Hyman was the athletics director
at Miami (Ohio), and Garland praised him for his accomplishments
at the school.
He was an outstanding athletics director,
Garland said. He hired great coaches, promoted gender
equity, and built strong relationships with the fans and
the student athletes. We were very sorry when TCU lured
The Horned Frogs, however, couldnt be happier.
Chancellor Victor Boschini said he admires Hymans
integrity, and that he truly considers the students as
student-athletes versus athletes who happen to be students;
an idea that Garland seconded, saying Hyman improved student-athlete
graduation rates during his tenure at Miami (Ohio).
The bottom line is Hyman is a quality individual
in a field where I do not often see quality,
Boschini said in an e-mail. He truly sees the athletic
department as part of the university versus the university
as part of the athletic department.
Hyman said the athletic department wants to continue to
help the university accomplish its goals, but he said
the specific accomplishments are not as important as the
overall well being of the athletic department and the
I dont look at the micro, I look at the macro,
Hyman said. People feel they are making an investment
and people are proud of the athletic department. All the
wins and losses run together over time. Its developing
a relationship with individuals and working together that
is the most important.
One of his relationships that will be getting even more
attention in the future is with Boschini. Boschini will
be taking over the athletic duties of the provost and
after June 1, he said Hyman will be reporting only to
Fortunately for the university, the healthy skepticism
Hyman has toward the media does not carry over into his
view of the future, although he admitted the future will
be different from what people have become accustom to.
A lot has been accomplished, and we probably wont
continue to make the giant strides we did in the past,
Hyman said. Our goal will be to continue to have
all our programs competing at the highest level.
Garland, however, is worried about just one thing when
it comes to Hymans ability to keep TCU athletics
performing at the highest level.
We are a little concerned about his cowardly streak,
Garland said with a hint of sarcasm masked by honesty.
He did refuse to play us in the GMAC Bowl.