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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A little secret about Jim Oakes

One funny thing about Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes that many people didn't know was that he avoided media attention whenever possible.

Although it was part of the job, he detested it. You could see it in his face when he faced the cameras.

Coincidentally, the attention avoidance is one of the things that led a lot of people to speculate that he was on his way out as athletic director over the past year or so. It was pointed out time and again during the recruitment of football coach Derek Dooley. At the Dooley press conference, Malcolm Butler spoke, President Dan Reneau spoke and Dooley spoke. Oakes stood near the front of the crowd and just smiled.

Oakes also avoided speaking during the introduction of basketball coach Kerry Rupp. Folks figured that meant that Reneau had usurped Oakes' authority and that he was just a figurehead.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. If Oakes wasn't required to stand in front of the cameras, he didn't.

So dealing with the media will be one of the things that Oakes will miss the least when he steps down on June 30.


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