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2nd finalist for marching band director drops out

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The Ohio State University Marching Band. Credit: Lantern file photo

A second finalist for the Ohio State Marching Band director position has dropped out of the running, The Lantern has learned.

Corey Spurlin, associate director of bands, marching band director and associate professor of music at Auburn University, is no longer a candidate. An email from divisional dean of arts and humanities and search committee chair Mark Shanda to marching and athletic band students said both finalists who had visited campus decided to drop out of the running. The Lantern obtained the email Tuesday.

“While disappointing for all who are invested in this process, this is a relatively common situation in high profile searches,” the email said.

A search committee tasked with finding a new director will reconvene Wednesday morning, the email said, and as soon as more details are available, band students will be alerted electronically.

The Lantern’s requests for comment from Spurlin and an Auburn University spokesman had not been returned as of Tuesday evening.

Another finalist, Barry Houser, director of the University of Illinois Marching Illini and Athletic Bands, withdrew his name earlier this month as well.

Both Spurlin and Houser visited campus earlier this month, where they met with administration and band students.

Shanda’s email said other potential finalists might have differently structured on-campus visits, given this is the last week of classes for Spring Semester, but that student-finalist interaction will remain a priority.

“Details for such interactions will be shared via email as soon as they are finalized,” the email said.

OSU spokesman Chris Davey provided a statement from College of Arts and Sciences dean David Manderscheid in response to The Lantern’s request for comment.

“We have identified a number of highly qualified candidates who are under consideration,” the statement said. “As the search continues, the band remains under the capable direction of the interim leadership team.”

The band’s former director, Jonathan Waters, was fired last summer after an OSU investigation found the band contained a highly sexualized culture.

23 comments

  1. Wow, a botched hiring process? Who would have guessed?

    Why not hire someone with OSU ties who sees this as their dream job and not leverage for their current position at Illinois or Auburn

  2. These people are seeing or hearing something that is completely out of pocket. They knew going in what situation surrounding the band… that’s not going o make them run. They also knew the extremely high expectations. Odds are good that extreme micromanagement and a ridiculous no tolerance policy is part of the offer.

  3. Just re hire Jon Waters and get on with life!

  4. Another testament to the utter incompetence and duplicity with which this whole affair was concocted and handled by the University. Let’s hope that the two candidates got substantial salary increases and financial support for their bands out this, but it is hard to see why anyone with any credibility would touch this job, knowing what was done to Waters, and how the administration and School of Music want to change the best college Band in the country to suit their agenda.
    Now we are about to enter the summer, when, after the students and many faculty leave campus, the University has free rein to do what they want, without fear of an adverse community reaction. It’s when Gee and Waters were dealt with; too bad for the administration that they made such a gross miscalculation on when that clamor would subside.
    And so we stagger on, mired in a dispute that would never have happened in the first place had the University and Trustees behaved with any semblance of integrity. What a mess.

  5. Really? As a retired HR Manager, I have never heard excuses like this. Wonder what they will think of next?

  6. I doubt this is a common situation for an internationally recognized Band who plays for the National Championship Buckeyes. The public releases are pathetic, as is this whole mess.

    OSU publicly claims to be proud of TBDBITL, but their actions do not show pride nor concern for the members of this organization which garnered about 80% of their positive publicity in 2013. The Administration and Trustees showed their true colors in the pact with the DOE/OCR, which made Jon Waters their collateral not to lose Federal Funding for the Title IX violations on record. People with integrity
    would not have made this choice. How sad that the Dept. of Education even accepted such a barter.

    What kind of leaders are running OSU who work so hard to defame their own students and a man who has devoted much of his life to the OSUMB? In 2 short years, Jon Waters worked so hard at making the band better, they were in an Apple commercial, and received much needed funding and administrative help from President Gee. Gee was recognized as one of the top 10 College presidents in the U.S., and knew Jon’s valuable contributions to the band for many years. But the BoT got rid of him, too.

    It’s no wonder the finalists in the director’s search pulled out after they learned how poorly the Administration treated the 2014 OSUMB members. Perhaps they also learned that the Search Committee’s selections were not accepted by the Administration.

    If OSU is really concerned about TBDBITL continuing to be the Pride of the Buckeyes, they should admit they made a huge mistake, settle the lawsuit, and reinstate Jon Waters. That would be integrity.

  7. As an Alum, I can honestly say I have never seen an Administration make one BOZO Decision after another, all in the realm of being “Politically Correct”. PC will only appease So Many for So Long. How about using some GD COMMON SENSE? Reinstate Jon Waters and put This Issue BEHIND Us. There are Many in the Administrative Offices that NEED a Good Swift Kick in the ***!

  8. Disgruntled parent

    I agree with Rob. This whole thing is a debacle. The Administration is trying to make the Best Damn Band in the Land, the Best Damn Band with Twirlers and Woodwinds. They want to change the entire history and legacy of the organization and have set out to make a name for themselves. They have no honor or integrity or they would have apologized and renamed Mr Waters as Director long ago. I have name for them: THE BEST DAMN BUNCH OF IDIOTS EVER!

  9. What should be the BEST college marching band jobs has turned into this mess. I feel so very sorry for the marching band students, and also Jon Waters. They need to FIRE the tope administrators who brought the university to this point. Also, do you think each of the directors that were interested in the job said to themselves: “Perhaps the university will also throw me under the bus in the near future if I take this job” – due to their (the administrators) incompetence.

  10. Do the right thing in this debacle for ONCE and bring back Jon Waters. Enough is enough. You don’t even have to admit you were “wrong” – just hire the guy, make it clear what the expectations are, make the band, the alumni, and thousands of others happy, and move on.

  11. So many act surprised. This is nothing new for the School of Music. Several years ago Blatti served as the interim director. They had a search, offered the job and got turned down by finalists. Blatti became the director.

    Now this is happening with the Marching Band. Perhaps the lense of scrutiny ought to be focused on the School of Music as the Montgomery Report suggests?

  12. It’s sad that 200 college students, who produce a new show every week that goes viral on the internet due to how amazing their work is, have been demonized by an administration that can’t even do the simple task of hiring a replacement director nine months later. One OSU band member achieves more for the university in one week in the fall than Drake accomplishes in an entire year.

  13. Are You Surprised?

    Is anyone really surprised that applicants that have visited campus, talked to the interviewers, learned more about the band and what would be expected, would still want the job? Look at any large group events (parades, Championship, etc) around OSU and you will see signs and shirts with “We Stand With Jon!” Anyone coming is from outside of OHIO will have a very hard time! Jon Waters and other past directors have set the bar so high for the position, OSU will have a very hard time hiring for the position. If I was applying for a job where the previous worker did his job, had an excellent job review, made the company known worldwide and then was fired…Hell NO, you can keep your job! Good luck! I think with all the attention that the band was getting 2 years ago (Youtube videos, etc), the athletic department was getting jealous and had to knock the band down a few notches.

  14. a truly flawed process by the BOT and president Drake. Why hasn’t the faculty spoken out? Probably because they don’t want the same fate as Jon received

  15. I find it fascinating and frightening to see Ohio State imploding over the last few years, due in great part to a few members of the Board of Trustees who have no regard for people or any values and are controlling the university with an iron hand. I regrettably see no easy fix for the mess it is in, and predict there will be other sacrificial lambs in the near future, including the president. I doubt he had a clue what he was stepping into. And I wonder how they can recover from this band debacle.

  16. If The OSUMB has been the premier marching band program for decades and decades; And if all the best, most passionate students, who’s dream it was to end up a director of a similar organization, smartly went to OSU to be a part of such a great program; And if part of their world class education and training including being good enough and hard working enough (during the toughest MB tryouts in the world) to earn a position in the The Best Damn Band In The Land; And if they were a graduate and likely PhD recipient from OSU’s School of Music; And if they were among the best in the country and were possibly able to earn the honor of being an OSUMB Graduate Assistant or a GA at a similar top program; And if then went on to be a world class directors of other collegiate marching bands…

    If many of the best marching band directors in the world pursued, followed, and succeed in the above journey…

    Then how on earth does it make any sense to specifically exclude ANY candidate that has EVER been a part of the OSUMB Family, in any capacity???

    How does the search for a replacement even have a chance to successfully find a world-class Director when you are intentionally excluding all the best possible candidates, who have gone through the best program, journey, and career path to be qualified to lead TBDBITL???

    It is an irrational, political, pig-headed, and ultimately flawed strategy that doomed the search from the start.

  17. Former staffer-you are entirely correct-
    Everyone wants to blame President Drake. He was here less than a month when this whole thing went down-it began under Elwood and Joe (the darlings of the OSU community) with the collaboration of the minions that were appointed by both of them. Drake was guilty of not closely looking at every document that awaited his signature and recognizing the impact it would have once signed. Unfortunately people expecting a positive outcome for Waters will have a long wait-because these businessmen and women who control the University lack compassion, a sense of true commitment to education and humility to do the right thing. They don’t respect tradition at Ohio State -they are hellbent on re-writing tradition to fit the business mold from which most of them worship at that altar. So many people are disgusted at the direction the University has taken the past several years and that is why Ohio State continues to lag behind its peers in fund raising and National FB championship years aside- still cannot compete with its so-called peer institutions when it comes to bringing in funds to augment the meager amount they get from the state-especially when you consider the number of graduates it has every year.

  18. Former staffer-you are entirely correct-
    Everyone wants to blame President Drake. He was here less than a month when this whole thing went down-it began under Elwood and Joe (the darlings of the OSU community) with the collaboration of the minions that were appointed by both of them. Drake was guilty of not closely looking at every document that awaited his signature and recognizing the impact it would have once signed. Unfortunately people expecting a positive outcome for Waters will have a long wait-because these businessmen and women who control the University lack compassion, a sense of true commitment to education and humility to do the right thing. They don’t respect tradition at Ohio State -they are hellbent on re-writing tradition to fit the business mold from which most of them worship at that altar. So many people are disgusted at the direction the University has taken the past several years and that is why Ohio State continues to lag behind its peers in fund raising and National FB championship years aside- still cannot compete with its so-called peer institutions when it comes to bringing in funds to augment the meager amount they get from the state-especially when you consider the number of graduates it has every year. I love the University as do so many others that I have been associated with over the past 45 years as a member of the University community but alot of us cannot and will not validate the Board and the upper management of an institution that has sold its soul and reputation by contributing any more funds to it.

  19. We stand with Jon.

  20. Let’s be honest. . .neither of the two candidates would have been good enough, but either would have received the support of the band, its alumni because they probably are qualified. The thing is, we’re in a conundrum. We don’t want a poorly qualified candidate but it’s difficult to trust a highly qualified candidate. Why? Well. . . .the withdrawal of these candidates shows that they see what those following this situation closely see, that no qualified candidate would want this job.

    The administration believes that they WILL attract a qualified candidate. . .but that seems more and more unlikely. They believe that the quality and true culture of the band will endure, but that too is in jeopardy. Look at the Notre Dame or Michigan football programs, both of which spent decade after decade at the top of college football but now have spent more than a decade in irrelevance because they hired bad coaches or coaches who didn’t fit. Both programs are well funded. Both programs enjoy huge fan support. Neither has done much (consistent) winning in the last 10 years.

    These Ohio State administrators seem to believe that such truths don’t apply to them. I don’t know how they sleep at night. I don’t know how they can collect a pay-check from the state of Ohio.

  21. Wanna know why they’re at square one? Any qualified band director who knows how to use the internet would read the comments of any article about OSUMB, see the terrifying pile of crazy that is the band alumni, and run for the hills.

  22. blakegeris – Rather be put off by the Band alumni, any sane band director would turn and run for the hills when he finds out how the administration and Trustees treat their staff and students. That’s where the real problem lies.

  23. blakegeris – Are we really doing anything more than pointing out the obvious? “Crazy band alumni” didn’t fire a director the administration gave good reviews to, failed to support properly, raved about his abilities, considered him faculty (even though he wasn’t), raised the profile of what was already a great band, for the off-duty actions of this adult students outside his purview.

    Stop and think about that. What kind of insanity does THAT? THAT is the administration that will be the potential candidates new boss. So take alumni comments completely off the table. Would you go work there?

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