[T]he Pac-10 ... appears to be leaning toward hiring the former Stanford athletic director Ted Leland.
For the first time in more than a quarter-century, the Pacific-10 Conference needs a commissioner. Tom Hansen announced Monday that he'll step down next spring, sending the league into search mode.
Hansen's successor will have a slew of issues to tackle, including the super-heated football playoff question. (Frankly, I can't see the league ever bailing on the Rose Bowl.)
But for now, let's forget the issues and focus on potential successors. According to Pac-10 and industry contacts, there's one no-brainer candidate: Ted Leland.
The former Stanford athletic director is very popular and enormously respected - not only within Pac-10 circles but nationwide. (At the Secretary of Education's request, he served as co-chair of a commission on opportunity in athletics.)
Leland understands the changing landscape of major college sports, especially football, and would stand his ground against counterparts from the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences.
But is he interested? Leland lives in Stockton and works for the University of the Pacific, his alma mater. He has always wanted to be UOP's president and supposedly is in line for the gig.
Nonetheless, he has to be the Pac-10's first call. Has. To. Be.
Almost anyone (except Pete the Boso Dalis) would be an improvement over Tom Hansen.