TREBBY: Williams and Pilarz only sure things in uncertain times

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With conference implosions lingering in the shadows, the next year or so is going to be one of the most important in the history of Marquette athletics.

It’s unfortunate that it comes with a whole bunch of unknowns.

What isn’t unknown is the success of Marquette’s teams. The Golden Eagles have soared through the fall this year. Both soccer teams won Big East championships, and the women’s volleyball team made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

On the court, Buzz Williams’ team is 8-0, looking like a legitimate Big East contender, and a team that could make a deep run into March. The women’s team has one of the best coaches in the country in Terri Mitchell. This year may be a rebuilding one, but there’s absolutely no doubt the program is in the right hands with Mitchell.

This is where the program begins to wade in murky waters.

Lacrosse will make its maiden voyage as a Division I sport at Marquette in the spring of 2013, but what conference will it be playing in at that time? For that matter, who will it be playing against?

Will they be traveling to the northeast part of the United States, as the current Big East dictates, or somewhere down south in Texas? Heck, can we even rule out trips out west to California or Idaho?

With Houston and Southern Methodist joining in all sports, and San Diego State and Boise State in just football, the Big East isn’t going to be very reflective of its name very soon. Central Florida is the fifth addition — in all sports — but that isn’t too geographically ambitious.

With football dominating conference realignment talk, Marquette is doing its best to stand strong. Unfortunately, they’ll find themselves dependent on those darn football schools in the end.

These scenarios probably won’t happen until the 2013-’14 school year — when Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia can leave the conference — leaving time for a lot of changes. Just look at what happened with TCU. Big East bound, they changed their mind before playing one conference game, and are now headed to the Big 12.

Elsewhere, there are still repercussions from last year’s allegations of sexual assault lingering against student-athletes, with the Department of Education investigating Marquette’s response. Nobody is quite sure what will come of that either.

If you told me you haven’t thought about the possible worst case scenarios, you’d be lying. Look at how quickly scandals at Penn State and Syracuse have changed things there. Once again, that’s a worst case scenario. We’re still in the dark when it comes to the repercussions.

With all that being said, in a time where Marquette is not sure of much, it sure received a confidence boost Tuesday night.

Larry Williams was hired as the new athletic director and vice president of Marquette, and will work directly with Father Pilarz to make sure the school comes out of this period in the clear.

After looking at the information provided by Marquette about Williams, and doing a bit of my own research on him, I can’t help but be impressed.

Williams graduated from Notre Dame — the only flaw on his résumé — then went on to play eight seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, during which he got his law degree from the University of San Diego. He put that degree into practice after he retired, working as a lawyer in Indianapolis. Williams then worked in Notre Dame’s athletics department, before becoming the Athletic Director at Portland.

Change may not always instill confidence, but with Father Pilarz’s encouraging start and the hiring of Williams, I have faith that no matter what the Big East may become or what conference the school may land in,  Marquette will be put in the best place possible by these two men.

Good luck, gentlemen. I hope you don’t need it.

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