Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Up Around the Bend" played throughout the Holliday Forum in LSU's journalism building moments before Scott Woodward's introductory press conference as LSU new athletic director.
While CCR's "Born on the Bayou" may have been the better fit for the man from Baton Rouge who spends his free time at a camp in Port Fourchon, the southernmost port in Louisiana, and had his first official press conference end on a discussion about fishing, the message from "Up Around the Bend" was still conveyed.
Woodward wants to leave the sinking ship behind.
He mentioned conversations with LSU President F. King Alexander and Board of Supervisors President James Williams about making sure LSU's new boat is being pulled in the right direction.
"If we're not rowing in boat in this direction, we're going to get our butts kicked in Tuscaloosa, we're going to get our butts kicked in Opelika, we're going to get our butts kicked in Gainesville, and trust me, I have no intention of doing that," Woodward said. "So I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that we're rowing this thing in the right direction."
In recent years there has been a divergent thought between the University's administration and athletic department. There was no unity when it came to major decisions — whether it was the botched firing of former football coach Les Miles in 2015 or the recent handling of the Will Wade fiasco, which ultimately led to Joe Alleva stepping down as athletic director.
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Woodward's return to LSU provides unity across all fronts. He has strong relationships with many around Baton Rouge and in Louisiana's legislature, including Jay Dardenne, a top-ranking member in Governor John Bel Edwards' administration.
Despite being an alumnus of LSU and his ties throughout the state, Woodward wanted it to be clear he returned to LSU for one reason: he knows what can be accomplished with everyone working together.
He was a part of LSU’s resurgence in the early 2000s as the right-hand man to then chancellor Mark Emmert from 2000-2004, and he saw the great things the school accomplished in athletics and in the classroom.
“You remember my boss Mark Emmert saying it, we want to be great at physics and football and everything in between, and that's what these folks attracted me to,” Woodward said. “That's what King's vision is and that's what this is about.”
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Woodward didn’t give details on any new plans to help LSU achieve greatness, but he did say, as of now, his job is to do no harm. While he is familiar with the outside image of LSU’s athletic department, he’s been away from the inner workings of it for 15 years.
Over the next few weeks, Woodward is going to work to make up lost time. He said he’ll listen for the most part and find out what needs to be improved. When the time for decisions comes, Woodward says they will be made in a collaborative effort and with transparency.
Woodward embracing an all-hands-on-deck approach, and his role in that is clear, he’s there to make sure the boat is going in the right direction.