It had all the machinations of a George Steinbrenner-Billy Martin flip-flop, if not quite all the drama.
Frank Cicero, who had served as assistant director of the Harvard Sports Information office for the past two years, announced last spring that he was leaving Harvard to pursue a journalism career.
Harvard conducted a search for a replacement, and chose Joel Glass, a graduate assistant SID at Florida. Jeff Bradley, a 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina--and younger brother of Seattle Mariners's catcher Scott Bradley--was brought in as a full-time intern.
Here's where it got complicated. The day after Glass accepted, he received an offer of promotion at Florida and decided to stay with the Gators. Bradley, in his first day on the job, was called in by Harvard SID Ed Markey and told the news.
"I opened my mouth but I couldn't get out the words, Can I interview [for the assistant SID job],'" Bradley recounts, "before Ed offered me the job. It was a dream come true."
Soon after, Markey, a five-year veteran of the Harvard sports news office, received an offer from NBC to work in public relations on that network's 1988 Olympic Games coverage.
He took the job, and handed the reins of the office back to--you guessed it--Cicero.
"NBC originally came after [Markey] in May," Cicero says. "It was an on again-off again thing, and then finally in August they told him he had the job.
"I was looking [originally] to get out of the sports information field after two years as an assistant," Cicero adds.
"I'm back now because on this side of the door you do a lot of different things than I did as assistant."
The Sports Information office is a low-profile but high importance cog in the Harvard athletic system. The office puts together media preview guides for the major Harvard teams, keeps the official statistics of all home athletic events, and generally tries to get Crimson athletes into local and national news.
When Harvard hockey star Scott Fusco captured the Hobey Baker Award two years ago as the best college hockey player in the nation, it was due in part to the efforts of Cicero, who handled hockey publicity that year.
"I don't really think I had much of anything to do with the award," says the modest Cicero, who nonetheless sent out weekly Fusco updates to 250 coaches and media members during the 1985-'86 hockey season. "Scott was the best player I saw that year."
While the present seems settled at last in the Sports information office, the future is a little uncertain. Cicero took the head job on a one-year interim basis, and has not decided if he will apply for a permanent position next summer.
Meanwhile, Markey's job at NBC is slated to last only 15 months--through the conclusion of the summer Games--though it is unlikely that he will return to Harvard.
In the meantime, Harvard athletes can rest assured that the sports news office is operating full-steam ahead in its 12-months-a-year publicity campaign.
If they don't make the pages of Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe, or even The Harvard Crimson, Harvard's athletes have only themselves to blame.