Many years ago, I was a young copywriter who accepted a job at an ad agency in Memphis. Seven months later, I was offered an identical position at a competing agency, which offered a few amenities I wasn’t receiving at my current employers. After much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, I requested a meeting with the agency’s partners.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve accepted a position with Agency X.”
Would I consider a counter offer? No. I had played that game of ping-pong before and felt terrible about it. The partners extended their hands.
“You can’t expect to keep good people,” said one partner. “You can just enjoy their work while they’re here. “
When Kelly Damphousse joined the Arkansas State family in 2017, he brought with him a positive energy that was contagious. His “Everybody is a Red Wolf” program generated what the university desperately needed – an extended community that went well beyond a winning football season.
His approach was charmingly one-on-one, which heavily involved his wife Beth and his poodle, Maple Leif. He’s unapologetically Canadian, confessing that his lifelong dream was to be a Mountie. He is known for his ubiquitous selfies with students, for popping up at even the most obscure A-State events, and for spurring more growth for the University.
Most importantly, he’s good people, and good people can’t be expected to stay in one place. They need new challenges. They court adventure. The wild calls them louder than most.
With the departure of Damphousse comes, for me, an empathy for Norchad Omier, who is also immensely talented and, by all accounts, good people. Few college basketball programs need Omier more than Arkansas State, but it’s not fair to anchor a rising star to a program that hasn’t sniffed an NCAA berth since more than a decade before his birth.
I wanted Norchad Omier to elevate the Red Wolves, even if it leeched the light from his own star. That’s selfish of me. Omier is a special talent. Credit to Mike Balado for bringing him into the college basketball community. Credit the staff and his teammates for assisting in his development. Credit the department for keeping him in Jonesboro for as long as he stayed. We enjoyed it.
Give credit to Kelly Damphousse for bringing his perspective and skills to our University. He was a tireless ambassador for A-State, and he will certainly be a success at San Marcos, where he is reportedly set to join the Texas State family as the university’s president.
You can’t keep good people forever. You can just enjoy their work while they’re here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mine