June 6, 2016 – Following a nationwide recruiting effort by Turnkey Search, Mark Coyle has been named director of athletics at the University of Minnesota.
The University paid Turnkey Search $150,000 plus expenses to recruit and vet candidates for the position. To find the new candidate, the school used a 16-person search committee comprised of faculty members, current and former athletes, statewide business leaders and a head coach.
A former Gopher administrator, Mr. Coyle most recently served as athletic director at Syracuse University. He was recruited into that position by DHR International. Prior to that, Mr. Coyle held the same post at Boise State University. He also worked as deputy AD at the University of Kentucky.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mark back to the University of Minnesota,” said University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler. “Mark’s previous contributions and experience in Gopher Athletics, combined with his leadership credentials at major athletic departments such as Syracuse, Boise State, and Kentucky, make him the ideal candidate to lead Gopher Athletics into the future.”
Mr. Coyle said: “I am so honored to have the opportunity to return to the University of Minnesota and the Big Ten. This is a tremendous athletics department made up of talented student-athletes and accomplished coaches. I loved my time in Gopher Athletics during an earlier part of my career and I look forward to leading the athletic programs of this great university.”
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The University of Minnesota is the oldest and largest campus within the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth largest main campus student body in the U.S., with over 51,000 students. The university is organized into 19 colleges and schools, and it has sister campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.
The University of Minnesota is one of an expanding number of schools turning to executive search firms to find new athletics directors, where fees have been growing along with the heightened expectations. Here’s a look at some recent activity from around the sector:
- Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search recruited David Benedict as athletic director at the University of Connecticut. The firm also placed Mark Jackson as director of athletics at Villanova University as well as Jennifer Cohen as the new AD at University of Washington (UW). A UW spokesperson said the school paid the search firm $105,000 to conduct the assignment;
- DHR International was selected by Purdue University to lead the search for its next athletic director. Current Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke announced he would retire in 2017 after serving in his position nearly 26 years;
- Brill Neumann Associates placed pro football hall of fame wide receiver and USC alumnus Lynn Swann as athletic director of the University of Southern California (USC). Pat Haden retired from the post, ending his guidance of the Trojans through a tumultuous period in the school’s history.
- Korn Ferry, the nation’s largest search firm, placed Josh Whitman as new athletics director for the University of Illinois. The University is said to have paid Korn Ferry $140,000 for its work on the search.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media