By Joel Wass
Last week, it was announced the Ryerson presidential search committee has narrowed its list of candidates down to one name.
Despite the best efforts of The Eyeopener news team, you won’t be reading who the mystery candidate is in this week’s issue. But if you decide to keep reading my column, you will read who our next president should be-at least in my humble-not to mention presidential-opinion (that’s right, part of being the editor-in-chief means that I am the president of Rye-Eye Publishing. Crazy, eh?).
My candidate has a degree in economics, an honorary doctorate from York University and presidential experience. He’s received national awards for his career achievements, including a community service award in 1995. He is one of Toronto’s most recognized and respected humanitarians.
According to his current employers, he is “heavily involved” with nine charities. Big Brothers, Special Olympics and the United Way are among the most notable. One of his current employees has even said that my candidate is “the one person I think that could probably run for mayor [in Toronto] and win.” The man I am referring to is current Toronto Argonauts Head Coach Mike “Pinball” Clemons.
Now before you dismiss my selection as a joke made by some jerk-off student journalist, hear me out. The Argos are arguably the least recognized pro sports team in the city, while Ryerson is arguably the least recognized university.
Since taking the Argos coaching job Clemons has transformed the boatmen from a bankrupt ball club to the most successful team in the city (the Argos are the current Grey Cup champions).
I don’t think it’s that far fetched to argue Clemons would also be able to take Ryerson to the top. It is tough to believe Clemons would leave his coaching job to become our president.
But the way I see it, he doesn’t necessarily have to quit his day job to work at Ryerson. The Canadian Football League season is played from June to November. His nickname is “Pinball,” so he shouldn’t have a problem for bouncing between two jobs. Since the first three months of the season take place over the summer – honestly, how much work could a university president have to do from June to August? – Clemons would only have to work two jobs three months of the year.
As opposed to other names that have been rumoured (mainly by us), pay wouldn’t be an issue for Clemons. Lajeunesse makes just less than $250,000 a year. I couldn’t find how much Clemons makes, even the highest-paid Argo (running back John Avery) only makes about as much as Lajeunesse. So one would assume the president position would be a pay raise for Clemons.
Still not convinced that Clemons is the right call? Well, I’m not alone in my estimation that Clemons would excel in a leadership position outside of football.
Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Godfrey thinks it’s only of matter of time before Clemons becomes a top political leader in Ontario. In fact, rumour has it, provincial Progressive Conservative leader John Tory would love to have Clemons on his team in time for the next provincial election.
I say let’s snag Clemons before Tory makes him a Tory. The search committee plans on announcing its selection at the Jan. 31 Board of Governors meeting.
Might Ryerson hire its first black university president the day before Black History Month starts? Probably not. Too bad really – President Pinball has a nice ring to it.