Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Selected Swarbrick | by Jay

Cheers to Jack Swarbrick, the latest inhabitant of Moose Krause's office. We've heard nothing but good things about his bona fides, and have received warm endorsements from a couple of people that have worked with Swarbrick in the past.

Herewith, some selected snippets from the Swarbrick file (all text c/o the Indy Star, unless otherwise noted), in no particular order...

February 4, 2004. "City to get long-term Final Four agreement."

The NCAA not only broke from its conventional bidding process, it also promised the Indiana Sports Corp. an additional event in each of the intervening years between men's Final Fours.

The women's Final Four, men's and women's early-round tournament games and the NCAA Convention will be included in each five-year cycle.

"Under the most conservative terms, this is a billion dollars of (total) revenue for the state and city," said Jack Swarbrick, former president of the Sports Corp., who brokered the deal. "And certainly out of a billion dollars, we won't have trouble finding funds to line up our end of the bargain."

In return, the Sports Corp. will arrange for Central Indiana to become a permanent backup site for the men's and women's Final Four. The Sports Corp. will also work to secure improvements for NCAA headquarters, including more parking, directional signs around the city and, if necessary, space to expand.

The long-term guarantee could help Mayor Bart Peterson build support for a stadium deal, which he wants to help keep the Indianapolis Colts from moving. The mayor said late last year that he was confident a deal to keep the NFL team would happen sometime this year.
February 13, 2004. "Sports planner brokers big deal."
...With the same enthusiasm, Swarbrick, 49, went on to broker the deal, announced last week, making Indianapolis a regular home to major NCAA events, including the men's and women's Final Fours.

It was a huge boost for the Sports Corp., still stinging from a $2.69 million loss on the World Basketball Championship in 2002. And with the long-term status of the Indianapolis Colts uncertain, it represented a selling point for proponents of a new stadium.

"He has the ability to draw common sense out of very complex problems and make everybody see the benefits at the end of the day," Bill Benner, vice president of the Sports Corp., said of Swarbrick. "There were so many components to this. Jack had the incredible ability to work all those constituencies and make them understand."

Making the deal happen involved not only dealing with the NCAA bureaucracy, which can be as nimble as a 350-pound defensive lineman, but also the city, the state, the Capital Improvement Board and the White River State Park Development Commission.
July 21, 2002. "The origins of a renewal."
..."It transformed our view of ourselves, literally in an instant," said Indianapolis lawyer Jack Swarbrick, who was team handball commissioner and later served eight years as president of the Indiana Sports Corp. "When the athletes paraded down the mall, you could almost feel a sense of, 'Wow, we pulled it off.' "

Added Sandy Knapp, then the sports corporation's executive director: "We knew it was our chance to stick our foot in the water. We couldn't blow it."

Indianapolis learned in February 1981 that it had beat out Philadelphia to play host to the festival, a multisport competition organized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Until then, it was the highlight of the Amateur Sports Initiative championed by then-Mayor William Hudnut's administration to help turn around the fortunes of a decaying Downtown.
April 2, 2006. "NCAA deal helped make new stadium a slam dunk."
"The momentum that (deal) provided was critical," said Jack Swarbrick, the Indiana Sports Corp. board member who brokered it with the NCAA. "It reinforced the message that (the stadium) was a community need."

That allowed Swarbrick, Glass and Peterson to sell the new stadium that way.

For 30 years the city has consciously used sports to establish that unique franchise. Sports to Indianapolis is what microchips are to Silicon Valley.

"This is a franchise that we own as a community," Swarbrick said. The NCAA deal "institutionalizes" that franchise, Swarbrick said, giving the next generation something to build on.

Who knew sports would be among the nation's fastest- growing industries when the Indiana Sports Corp. was founded in 1979 as part of the fledgling development effort? "For all the brilliance of the people who started this, no one could foresee this kind of growth," Swarbrick said.
April 20, 2001. "Sports Corp lays out plan."
"The opportunity to catch our breath is about over, and we want to make sure all the pieces of the platform are in place,'' said Jack Swarbrick, who will leave his position after eight years as chairman of the board of the Sports Corp...

Earl Goode, 60, who recently retired after working 38 years for GTE, is expected to become the Sports Corp. chairman next fall. Swarbrick was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash, the state's highest honor, by Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan and given a proclamation by Deputy Mayor Bill Shrewsberry.

Net economic impact on Indianapolis from 10 amateur sports events in 2000 was $59.6 million, according to the Sports Corp.
June 29th, 2004. Chuck Wielgus, U.S. Swimming:
"At its most recent convention, the NCAA agreed to create a joint NCAA/USOC Task Force to study the status of Olympic sports programs at NCAA institutions and develop recommendations designed to protect and expand future opportunities for American athletes and coaches...

"The NCAA/USOC Task Force is being chaired by Jack Swarbrick … and there could not have been a better choice. While you may not have heard his name before, be assured that Mr. Swarbrick is a major player. He was instrumental in engineering the relocation of the NCAA from Overland Park to Indianapolis and he is exceptionally well thought of in the highest circles of NCAA leadership. As an attorney, Mr. Swarbrick has worked with numerous sports groups, including many NGBs and he has a deep understanding of our business and the issues involving Olympic sports. A visionary, with a rare appreciation for details and process, Jack Swarbrick is the ideal leader for this effort with the capability of being the catalyst for change."
December 26, 2004. "Founders nurtured their vision for city."
...But the biggest impact came from the move of the NCAA headquarters from Overland Park, Kan.

"For a long time we held the view that the logical missing piece for Indianapolis was an anchor tenant," said Jack Swarbrick, noting there are two major organizations for amateur sports, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the NCAA. "So the relocation of the NCAA was the critical piece in the long-term strategy."

Swarbrick, of Baker & Daniels, has been involved with the Sports Corporation since the early days. Not only was he instrumental in bringing the NCAA here, he brokered the deal with the NCAA for annual major events.

The RCA Dome has been and will be the site of Final Four basketball, and if Indianapolis is to have Final Four events toward the end of the 35-year deal, past the 2010 men's Final Four already awarded, the city will need to keep pace with top facilities.

That's why Swarbrick was smiling as he joined the key players for last weekend's announcement of a proposed new stadium.

Swarbrick was representing the ISC, which has been built on partnerships. Also represented, along with Mayor Bart Peterson, were the NCAA, the Colts, the Capital Improvement Board (which owns and operates the RCA Dome) and the Convention and Visitors Association.
June 6, 2006. "Indy tops Chicago for Big Ten tourneys."
...So how did Indianapolis beat its more visible rival -- which also happens to be the home of the Big Ten office?

The quality of the Fieldhouse and Indianapolis' compact downtown helped. But a financial guarantee and some concessions involving both tournaments likely sealed the deal.

Indianapolis officials also agreed to pay the Big Ten $400,000 each year. And the girls basketball state finals might move out of the city because of a conflict with the women's tourney.

"It's not so much Chicago lost it as Indianapolis won it," said Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke. "Indianapolis really wanted this event."

The Fieldhouse had three capacity crowds of 18,730 during the 2006 tournament, but that still was about 5,000 less than capacity of the United Center. Big Ten officials also believed Chicago, the nation's third-largest television market, offered more sponsorship opportunities.

"We knew early on we had to get that off the table," said Indianapolis lawyer Jack Swarbrick, a longtime amateur sports activist who helped broker the deal. "So we did."...

"It wasn't what allowed us to win," Swarbrick said. "But it allowed us to emerge as an equal competitor."

Delany didn't dispute that.

"If you get to a certain level of parity financially, other things come into play," he said.

Such as the city's history of successfully staging major sporting events.
April 27, 2005. "Swarbrick not your usual athletic director job candidate."
When university sports leaders turn to an attorney, it's often to resolve charges of wrongdoing.

That was not the case with Arizona State. The university was interested in hiring Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick as its athletic director.

Although Arizona State last week awarded the position to USC administrator Lisa Love , the fact the university considered an unconventional candidate is a measure of the esteem in which Swarbrick is held.

Swarbrick, a partner at Baker & Daniels, is not a college sports administrator. He said he is not looking to leave Indianapolis, either, but responded to an inquiry by Arizona State president Michael Crow .

"For ADs, the relationship with the president is everything," Swarbrick said. "There are very few of these that I would consider. As I got to know him and understand him a little better, I was intrigued.

"My impression was borne out. It's a university that's going to do some great things under president Crow. At the end of the day, it wasn't right for me."

Swarbrick said sports can exist as a central part of a university's educational mission. Public perception is that sports, specifically big-time football and men's basketball, are merely an entertainment adjunct.

If Swarbrick were to become an athletic director, "it's because I really want to change that paradigm," he said.

Swarbrick was a finalist in 2002 for the job of NCAA president. He was a key figure in the NCAA's move to Indianapolis in 2000, and he brokered the deal that makes Indianapolis a regular home to Final Fours.
May 21, 2008. "It's ours! Indianapolis scores 2012 Super Bowl."
...Jack Swarbrick, a leader of the bid effort, said the city is ahead of the game in getting ready to host the Super Bowl. He said governmental requirements such as waiving the sales and hotel tax on thousands of league-reserved rooms and providing public safety are already in place.

"We are going to throw one heck of a party," Swarbrick vowed. "We will turn over our city to the Super Bowl. When you come to our town, you own the joint."
For a guy whose name was not widely known to Irish fans outside of his hometown, this is quite the impressive resume, and at first blush it looks like a terrific hire. I had been hoping that the N.D. brass would look outside of the traditional athletic director careerist paradigm for their candidate, and get a capable negotiator and advocate who's more than comfortable operating on a big stage. That's exactly who Swarbrick appears to be: a mover and shaker who scored big for the city of Indianapolis, over and over again. I'm looking forward to seeing that same zeal in action on behalf of the Irish. Welcome aboard, Jack.