For Maryland news and reaction, I go to one place and one place only: Our Maryland blog Testudo Times. Getting a new athletic director, even if it is only in the interim sense, is about as big as news from the athletic department can get. The Times gives us a nice introduction to the new A.D.
First off, the basics: Eaton is 49 years old and has been a part of the department since 2003. He serves essentially as the CFO of the program, though his official title is "senior assistant athletic director." He knows the programs - and their necessary budgets - very well, which likely heavily contributed to his appointment.
Luckily for Maryland, he holds a trait that seemed to escape former AD Debbie Yow, at least in her later years: straight likability. The WaPo called him "well-regarded" for his "straightforward-yet-personable" approach. They also say he has strong relations with men's basketball and football, which is very refreshing after the non-revenue emphasis of Yow. Jeff Barker said he's "not regarded as a polarizing figure." A "basketball insider" said that "everone likes him." Again, very refreshing after the Yow-Gary spats in the past.
After all the friction that came from Debbie Yow's administration, it's nice to know that the guy replacing her is a bit more personable. While likability is not a requirement of a good A.D., it will be refreshing to see a department with a little less infighting. They are all on the same team, after all.
As for his impact, maybe we shouldn't expect too much.
As for what Eaton will ultimately look to accomplish in his short time in office? Well, he's an interim AD, after all, and will be limited in his future involvement. He's said his goal is to not wreck the ship, and that's an admirable one. His financial experience will come in handy as he deals with the budget, which is always an issue at Maryland, but I'd be surprised if he ended up starting any projects.
Having said that, The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Eaton is already looking to increase the budget of the school's biggest sports about 3 percent, back to the level they were at before having to be cut last summer.
This summer, the budget news is brighter. Interim athletic director Randy Eaton said in an interview Monday that the football and men's basketball budgets have been restored to prior levels.
Unlike last football season, there is no discussion of sending the football team to games by bus -- at least not for budgetary reasons.
Reaction to the potential budget increase from Testudo Times;
You'll probably remember that Maryland had to cut their budgets of both sports by 3.1% last year. (Women's basketball was cut by just 2.4%, which of course raised the ire of most fans). The cuts forced the football team to rely on private donors for planes instead of buses to travel to games and resulted in a scaled-down, far less entertaining than usual Maryland Madness.
The budgets have now been increased back to the levels before the cuts. Considering that there was a possibility of more cuts, this increase is a good thing indeed.