Blake James, UM’s acting athletic director following former AD Shawn Eichorst’s resignation Thursday, addressed the media at halftime of the UM-Notre Dame game.
“I think you’re surprised anytime there’s a change that occurs,” said James, 43, who has been the senior associate athletic director at Miami after serving as the Maine athletic director from 2005 to 2010. He previously worked at UM from 1995-97 and from 1998-2001. “It was something that caught me by surprise and obviously I was excited with the opportunity.
“I met with [UM president] Donna [ Shalala] on Thursday and she gave me this opportunity as the interim and I’m excited just to take the baton and go forward — and what a great experience. I’m here at Miami-Notre Dame and it’s something I’m eagerly thrilled to be a part of right now. And I look forward to continuing to move forward with the program.”
At UM, James said he has most recently been in charge of UM development, ticket sales and the volleyball program, while serving on the senior staff.
James said he was on his way out the door to the airport Thursday to join the Golden Canes — the biggest donors to UM athletics — when Shalala’s office called to say Shalala wanted to talk to James. They did, and she delivered the news.
“I let her know how honored I was to represent the program.”
James was asked Saturday how much he’d like the job permanently.
“It’s a great institution. It’s a great program,” James said. “When you look out there in college athletics, obviously it’s a very attractive job.”
James did not elaborate on a timeline for finding a replacement to Eichorst, nor did he give specifics about the job search.
James said in his previous role at UM, he “wasn’t involved in the NCAA issues” with which UM is dealing now, regarding the investigation into former booster Nevin Shapiro and those associated with him.
“That’s something I know as an institution we’re on top of,” he said, “and we’ll continue to move forward as a program. … As athletic director I’ll take on that responsibility.”
NEW DEPTH CHART
A new Miami depth chart was distributed about 15 minutes before kickoff.
Some offensive changes: Clive Walford moved to first-team tight end, ahead of Dyron Dye; at running back, there was an “and” between Mike James and Duke Johnson, instead of an “or;” Robert Lockhart Jr., a freshman receiver, was added to the depth chart at third team, below Kendal Thompkins. Defensive: Freshman Earl Moore earned second-team defensive tackle behind Darius Smith; on the other side at defensive tackle, redshirt freshman Corey King started for the injured Olsen Pierre. At middle linebacker, Denzel Perryman returned from injury, with freshman Raphael Kirby listed at second team — ahead of Jimmy Gaines. Gionni Paul leaped ahead of Tyrone Cornileus at weak-side linebacker.
BRRRR! IT’S COLD
The Hurricanes are used to opponents coming to Sun Life Stadium and wilting under the South Florida sun and unbearable heat. Saturday, they got their own version of climate change.
The weather conditions in Miami about 30 minutes before kickoff? 81 degrees (felt like 86) with 80-percent humidity.
The weather conditions at Chicago’s Soldier Field at kickoff: 44 degrees, with 50-percent humidity and winds out of the Northwest at 5 miles an hour.