What's this? A lawyer and state budget director who studied at Vanderbilt University and parlayed his friendship with a Republican governor into a leadership post in higher education?
The Council on Postsecondary Education has hired . . . Brad Cowgill.
Never miss a local story.
No, no, just kidding.
The similarities in resumes are striking. But Robert L. King's five years at the helm of the State University of New York gives him a decided advantage in experience and knowledge.
Cowgill, who had been Gov. Ernie Fletcher's budget director, led the higher-ed coordinating agency for eight months, until Gov. Steve Beshear, backed by state law, demanded a national search.
The national search yielded King, who was being praised last week as someone who brings political skills, education savvy and drive to a job that demands all three.
Among those singing his praises was former Gov. Paul Patton, a member of the CPE. That's a persuasive endorsement since the success of Patton's greatest legacy, the 1997 education reforms, rests to a great extent in the hands of the CPE and its staff.
At SUNY, King, formerly a Republican legislator, oversaw a 64-campus, 400,000-student system with an $8.5 billion budget and institutions ranging from community and technical colleges to research universities.
SUNY's enrollment and academic standing increased under King, but so did tuition as state funding declined proportionately.
He'll step into a similar situation here as colleges and universities struggle to grow and raise standards without pricing themselves beyond the reach of the people who need them most.
King has a big challenge ahead, trying to win stronger support for higher education from a notoriously anti-tax legislature during a recession.
He'll have to demand that the institutions make the most of every dollar to educate more Kentuckians. He also must help spark research that can spin off jobs that will keep and attract college graduates.
It's a tall order. For all our sakes, we wish him well.