Sam Jankovich, who oversaw the success of the University of Miami athletic program, took on the task Thursday of resurrecting the New England Patriots from their season of failure.
"This is Sam Jankovich's era," New England owner Victor Kiam said at a news conference. "It is a new era in the history of the Patriots."Jankovich, Miami's athletic director since 1983, was named chief executive officer and owner's representative of the NFL team. Pat Sullivan, whose contract runs through 1996, will remain as general manager.
Rod Rust's job as head coach may be in jeopardy. He is in the first year of a three-year contract, but the Patriots are 1-13 and have been beset by off-field problems.
"At this particular time," said Jankovich, "I can't look you in the eye and say `yes, Rod will stay or, no, Rod will not stay.' "
He said that, right after the season ends, he would sit down and discuss Rust's future.
Miami has won three national football championships during Jankovich's tenure, but he has no NFL experience. He was expected to have final say over who would coach the Patriots, and there are indications he'd like to start with a clean slate.
He reportedly was given a five-year contract with a base salary of $1.8 million that includes clauses and bonuses that could make it worth $2.5 million, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.
The announcement followed several days of meetings involving Kiam, Jankovich, Sullivan and attorneys. The sessions were aimed at sorting out the extent of Jankovich's powers and his working relationship with Sullivan.
Kiam said Jankovich will be "in complete control of all aspects of the New England Patriots organization."
Sullivan is owed $2.7 million on his contract, which prohibits him from being fired or having his authority reduced unless he violates certain provisions.