August 17, 2016 – Executive search firm Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA) has recruited Jim Sterk as athletic director for University of Missouri. According to sources, Missouri paid the recruiting firm $75,500 plus expenses to handle the assignment. Todd Turner, CSA president and founder, and a former AD himself, led the search.
Missouri had previously used Korn Ferry in the search that produced Mack Rhoades, Mr. Sterk’s predecessor. Korn Ferry charged the university $206,000 for the search, which included a $75,000 retainer. That contract said that Korn Ferry would perform a new search at no additional fee if Mr. Rhoades left within a year. He left for Baylor after 14 and a half months with the school.
Mr. Sterk, who joined San Diego State University in 2010, has overseen the most successful five seasons in SDSU’s athletic history with 32 team conference championships for the Aztecs since the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year and the fourth highest combined winning percentage in the country in football and men’s basketball.
“Jim’s leadership in intercollegiate athletics is unparalleled, and we are thrilled he is going to bring his talents, energy and passion for working with student-athletes to Columbia,” said Missouri interim chancellor Hank Foley. “He is just what Mizzou needs at this time.”
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Mr. Foley said Mr. Sterk was chosen from a “varied and impressive” field of candidates with input from an advisory committee composed of faculty, staff, students and athletic supporters.
“Mizzou athletics—and all of Mizzou Nation—will benefit from having someone of Jim’s caliber on board,” Mr. Foley said. “He has a superb winning record, is committed to the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts and will help restore pride and confidence in an athletics program that is working to overcome a challenging year.”
As the largest university in Missouri, MU enrolls 35,000 students and offers over 300 degree programs in 19 academic colleges. It is the flagship campus of the University of Missouri System, which also maintains campuses in Rolla, Kansas City, and St. Louis.
CSA was the search firm Missouri used in the hiring of men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson in 2014. CSA charged $42,500, plus expenses, for that search.
Collegiate Sports Associates serves the recruiting needs of athletics programs at NCAA Division I universities and conferences across the U.S. The firm’s network of associates includes current and former Division I athletics directors and other senior university and conference officials, including commissioners, presidents, faculty athletics representatives, coaches, and associate athletics directors.
The firm has recruited professionals for a number of top university athletics programs, including those found at Kansas State University, Longwood University, University of Missouri, University of New Mexico, Northern Illinois University, University of Oklahoma, Old Dominion University, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest University, and Winthrop University.
Mizzou is one of an expanding number of schools turning to executive search firms to find new athletics directors. Here’s a sampling of recent assignments from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- DHR International recruited an insider, Jeffrey Schulman, as athletic director at the University of Vermont (UVM). The firm was said to have been paid $75,000 to look for, vet and present candidates to UVM, along with another $9,000 for indirect costs and reimbursements of over $30,000 for advertising placements and traveling. Mr. Schulman is currently in his 12th year as senior associate athletic director at UVM.
- Turnkey Search found Mark Coyle as the new director of athletics at the University of Minnesota. The University paid the firm $150,000 plus expenses to recruit and vet candidates for the position. Mr. Coyle most recently served as athletic director at Syracuse University. He was recruited into that position by DHR International.
- 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.
- 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. Parker also recently placed Jennifer Cohen as the new AD of the University of Washington (UW). A UW spokesperson said the school paid the search firm $105,000 for its role in generating leading candidates and seeing the search process through to completion.
- Korn Ferry, the nation’s largest search firm, placed Josh Whitman as athletics director for the University of Illinois. The University is said to have paid Korn Ferry $140,000 for its work on the search.
- Sports and entertainment-focused executive recruiter Turnkey Search was recently selected by the University of Minnesota to lead its search for a new athletics director. Beth Goetz has served as interim AD since Norwood Teague resigned in August after allegedly sexually harassing colleagues.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media