Three Miami football alums who could be candidates for athletic director

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13 (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Miami football alums Alonzo Highsmith, Twan Russell and Gino Torretta are or potentially could be candidates to be the Hurricanes’ next athletic director according to various sources. Highsmith and Torretta have been mentioned widely with Russell reportedly less likely. Miami is also looking outside for AD candidates.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported on Wednesday that Hurricanes are hiring a search firm for athletic director. Highsmith, Russell and Torretta do not have experience working in a college athletic department. All three have been involved with football in varying capacities since their playing careers ended.

Highsmith has spent his post-NFL career as a scout and executive. From 1998 through 2017 Highsmith was a senior personnel executive with the Green Bay Packers. Highsmith was the vice president of player personnel for the Green Bay Packers from 2018-2020. Highsmith is now a Personnel executive with Seattle.

Russell has spent the last 16 years with the Dolphins. First as the Director of Youth and Community Programs from 2005 through 2013. Russell has been the Dolphins Director of Community Affairs since 2013. Russell has been the athletic director at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale since April.

Torretta might be the most interesting of the three alums that have been mentioned as candidates. During his Miami football career from 1989 through 1992, Torretta was the only Hurricanes player to win a Heisman Trophy and national championship as a starter. Torretta has been active in business during his post-playing career.

Torretta is currently the Senior Vice President of GAMCO Asset Management which is reportedly a $41 billion company. In addition to GAMCO, Torretta is also the chairman and CEO of Touchdown Radio Productions that syndicates a national college football game of the week. Torretta is also a national college football analyst.

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Although he has not specifically worked in an athletic department Torretta has a background that is relevant to being an athletic director. He spent the majority of his post-playing career in asset management which is critical to being a collegiate athletic director. Torretta also has experience playing in a championship program.

The Miami football team was 44-4 from 1989-92 when Torretta played for the Hurricanes. Torretta is also the only Miami quarter to start a game during two different championship seasons. He served as the backup to Craig Erickson in 1989 starting three games before becoming the full-time starter in 1991.

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The Hurricanes won the 1991 National Championship with Torretta as the starter and he won the 1992 Heisman Trophy leading Miami to the Sugar Bowl where they lost to Alabama denying them a second straight national championship. Torretta would also provide Miami a high profile presence as athletic director.