September 22, 2016 – Sports and entertainment-focused executive recruiter Turnkey Search has been retained by Georgia Tech to lead its search for a new director of athletics. Mike Bobinski, the school’s past athletic director, has left his position to take on the same role at Purdue University. DHR managing partner and global sports practice leader, Glenn Sugiyama, led that assignment.
The hunt for Georgia Tech’s AD is being led by senior executive director Gene DeFilippo, a former athletic director at Boston College, Villanova and University of Kentucky, along with Len Perna, founder, president and chief executive officer of Turnkey Search. They will be assisted by recruiting associate Kyle Brown.
Identifying the Perfect Candidate
Georgia Tech has named an eight-person search committee to recommend candidates for the currently vacant position. The committee includes current Georgia Tech faculty and staff, two current students and community leaders.
“It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work with Georgia Tech on this search,” said Mr. DeFilippo. “We’ve hit the ground running to identify the perfect candidate to take the reins at Tech’s athletic department and build on the many successes the program has already achieved.”
“We’re looking forward to working with Turnkey Search on an efficient process in the coming weeks and months,” said G.P. Peterson, president of Georgia Tech. “Our next director of athletics will be a strong leader tasked with building on the Institute’s history of successfully combining athletic achievement with academic excellence.”
One of the ACC’s most well-rounded athletic departments, the Georgia Tech Athletic Association supports more than 400 active student-athletes utilizing a $75 million budget. Academically, 165 of Tech’s student-athletes made the 2015-16 ACC Academic Honor Roll, and more than half of the institution’s student-athletes earned a 3.0 or higher GPA that same spring.
Over the past year, Turnkey has completed numerous athletic director searches for clients, including the University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University and Grand Valley State University.
Just recently, Turnkey Search recruited Mark Coyle as 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.
Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota are just two of an expanding number of schools turning to executive search firms to find 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.
- Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA) 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. 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.
- 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.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media