UPDATE! Marquette University has made the hiring of Dr. Michael Lovell official.
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As Marquette continues the search for a new head men's basketball coach, one piece of the shifting administration above the coach's job appears to have fallen into place.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell is expected to be announced as the 24th president of Marquette University later today. If officially announced, Lovell would be the first president of the university to not be a member of the Society of Jesus.
In late February, Lovell was contacted by the Journal Sentinel regarding the Marquette job, and had this to say:
"I'm not part of the process. No one is trying to twist my arm to go to Marquette. UWM is a great institution and I'm very proud to represent it."
I don't know how someone goes from flat denial of being involved in the process to being announced as president within the span of a month, but there you have it.
Lovell would replace Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., who announced his sudden resignation in September. At the time, Pilarz stated that he no longer wanted the responsibilities of being a university president and wanted to take on more pastoral duties as a Jesuit, but was recently announced as the next president of Georgetown Preparatory School.
Marquette is still looking for a head men's basketball coach. Buzz Williams left Marquette on Friday to take the same position with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more commonly referred to as Virginia Tech. One of the reasons believed to have contributed to Williams' departure is the unsteady nature of the university leadership. As it stands right now, Marquette does not have a permanent president, a provost, or an athletic director. This vacuum was also considered to be a major hurdle in hiring a basketball coach, as most people looking to make a jump to a job that was reportedly going to pay Williams nearly $3 million next year would want to know who their supervisors were going to be in the long term.
With Lovell in the fold, the move to hire a new Vice President/Director of Athletics (the official title as changed under Pilarz) can begin quickly. It remains to be seen if that job needs to be filled before the basketball coach can be hired as well. It is possible that Monday's rigamarole may have been caused by a hurry up and wait scenario until one or more pieces fall into place. Lovell's hiring would be that first piece.