March 11, 2022 – Universities continue to turn to executive search firms to fill top coaching positions. Western Michigan University has retained Chicago-based DHR Global to assist in its search process for a new men’s head basketball coach. Sitting head coach Clayton Bates has announced he is stepping down. DHR’s managing partner and global sports practice leader, Glenn Sugiyama, is partnering with the school on the search.
“We will immediately begin a national search for the next leader of our men’s basketball program” said Dan Bartholomae, director of athletics. “That candidate will share our vision of a program that centers on the development of the student-athlete, energizes the community in support of our team, and competes at a championship level. Bronco men’s basketball is uniquely situated to fulfill that vision, and I look forward to the program’s future. The young men in our men’s basketball program are fantastic and we will continue to support them as we look for a new leader of our program.”
“DHR’s devotion exclusively to the industry allows them to better serve clients with the utmost standards of professionalism, fast approach, strong ethics and outstanding quality,” said Western Michigan University.
The Western Michigan University Broncos finished 5-16 overall in 2020-21, with a 4-12 Mid-American Conference record. This past season, the Broncos compiled a record of 8-23, 4-16 in the MAC.
Mr. Sugiyama’s past searches include the 2006 Stanford football search that landed Jim Harbaugh. He assisted Purdue in hiring former Cardinal Jeff Brohm as its football coach and Florida State (FSU) in an athletic director search that saw former University of Louisville AD Vince Tyra become a candidate before FSU hired Seminole Boosters CEO Michael Alford.
Mr. Sugiyama is known for some unusual tactics when conducting high visibility searches. According to a 2019 Chicago Tribune story, he once sent a decoy plane to Boise, ID, during a search to throw off reporters and fans familiar with flight tracking.
A Leader in Sports Recruitment
DHR’s sports practice is a global specialty for the firm with capabilities on six continents across all sports-related organizations. These range from Fortune 500 companies and professional sports teams to public and private university athletics. The firm has overseen searches for the University of Pittsburgh, Colorado State University, Fresno State University, San Jose State, Kansas, Syracuse, and Quinnipiac University, among others.
DHR Global recently assisted Northwestern University in the recruitment of Derrick Gragg as the Combe Family vice president for athletics & recreation. He succeeded Mike Polisky, who resigned as the university’s athletic director. The search process, aided by DHR, was kept confidential to ensure the ability to identify and recruit the best possible candidates, according to Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern. “It was essential for us to find the right leader for the next chapter at Northwestern — someone who can build both academic and athletic excellence at a time of rapid change in the intercollegiate sports landscape, and also someone who can create the best possible environment for students, staff and coaches,” he said. “After talking extensively with Derrick, it was clear that he was the ideal person for the job.”
At age 27, Mr. Sugiyama became one of the youngest directors of a major U.S. pro sports team when he was named to the board of directors of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Prior to the Bulls, he was a Division I college basketball coach. Recently, he was named one of the “Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business” in the U.S.
“Glenn is professional, he’s thorough and integrity is important to him,” Brian Battle, the former senior associate director of athletics for internal operations at Florida Atlantic University, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “He puts together the best candidate pool for the university to make the decision.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media