posted on September 14, 2012 09:37
My fellow Wolfpackers will howl, but I feel for Holden Thorp. It’s no fun being pummeled in The News & Observer day after day. Thorp must ask himself every morning: How do I get ahead of this?
A TAPster whose judgment I respect – and is a UNC alum – wrote:
“Thorp's professional death spiral is swirling quicker today because of two fatal moves. First, he's not paying attention….Thorp was thinking deep thoughts while Butch Davis and Matt Kupec ran wild with the school's reputation.
“Second, he has no skill managing crises and doesn't know when or how to call for help. He dawdles until everything becomes a hot mess, usually after the N&O asks questions or breathlessly gleeful NC State fans post a nasty blog. Every good boss and politico knows you need a thoughtful plan and message, not pablum from a brainy academic.”
A UNC-CH trustee told me that Thorp has the support of the trustees and most faculty. But his problem is The N&O. The paper’s reporters and editors seem to believe he is hiding something – or even lying to them.
That’s waving the red cape at the bull. Then there are the zealous N.C. State fans who never forgot or forgave The N&O for, they think, unfairly running off Jim Valvano and Bruce Poulton. They want sky-blue blood.
Thorp probably made the classic mistake of listening to lawyers when they said, as lawyers usually do, “Don’t say anything.” Strong leaders learn when to tell the lawyers: “Our institution’s reputation is too important.”
There is only one possible route to safety for Thorp now: Let it all hang out. Make everything public. Do what’s right for the future of the university. Remove the cancer.
If Holden holds nothing back, maybe he can hold on.