July 10, 2017 – Athletic directors are playing an increasingly vital role at colleges and universities across the country. With the expansion of athletic departments and, for the larger schools, the infusion of big dollars for sports, more schools have turned to search firms when such positions become open. Too much is at stake, they feel, to go it alone. What’s more, the AD job has come to demand greater business and management skills than the typical academic search.
Most recently, Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search was selected by the University of New Mexico (UNM) to lead its search for a director of intercollegiate athletics. Paul Krebs retired at the end of June after 11 years as vice president of athletics. Daniel Parker, Parker’s vice president and managing director, is heading the assignment.
While no contract is in place, sources said, UNM’s agreement with Parker is believed to be for about $50,000, not including logistical costs such as flights, lodging and expenses for any candidate interviews the firm might conduct itself.
UNM’s director of intercollegiate athletics is responsible for planning, administering, and directing all of the school’s NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women. The individual ensures that all athletics programs are in compliance with NCAA and Mountain West Conference rules, regulations and policies. The AD also makes sure that all programs and initiatives are integrated and effective in supporting the overall mission, goals and objectives of the institution.
“Lobo Athletics are a source of pride for all of New Mexico, so the right leader is very important for us,” said UNM’s interim president, Chaouki Abdallah. “I’m especially interested in continuing the academic success of our student-athletes.”
Later this month, Hunt Scanlon Media will present its first ever roundup of leading recruiters in the sports & entertainment field. It is one of the most explosive growth areas in executive search. If your firm belongs on this roster, please connect with us so you don’t miss out. We’re looking for 50 trailblazers!
“We look forward to the expertise the search committee will bring to the review process for this very important position,” said Robert M. Doughty, president of the UNM board of regents. “We will continue to provide updates to the campus as we progress through the search process.”
Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges & universities, and collegiate athletics. Its sports practice represents clients conducting searches for positions ranging from president/CEO, EVP/SVP/general manager, and executive director to conference commissioner, athletic director, head coach, and assistant coach, among others.
The firm’s sports practice counts a wide range of schools among its clientele, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham and the University of Central Florida. Last year, the firm recruited David Benedict as athletic director at the University of Connecticut. It also placed Mark Jackson as director of athletics at Villanova University as well as Jennifer Cohen as the new AD of the University of Washington.
Athletic director searches are some of the most prolific assignments in the sports sector to come to recruitment firms in recent years. Here’s a sampling of recent AD assignments from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA) recruited Desiree Reed-Francois as athletic director of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). The school paid CSA $75,000 plus expenses directly related to the search, according to UNLV sources. Ms. Reed-Francois, previously the deputy athletics director at Virginia Tech, has more than two decades of leadership experience as an athlete, attorney, and athletics administrator and is considered one of the industry’s rising stars.
- Turnkey Search recruited John Currie as director of athletics and vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee. He replaced Dave Hart, who announced his retirement last year after six years with the school. Turnkey Search also recently placed Todd Stansbury as athletic director for Georgia Tech. The search was 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.
- DHR International just placed Heather Lyke as athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. Glenn Sugiyama, DHR’s managing partner and global sports practice leader, led the assignment along with partner Pat Richter who spearheads the firm’s specialized sports practice group. DHR also 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.
- Eastman & Beaudine placed Jon Gilbert as the new athletic director of the University of Southern Mississippi. Past AD Bill McGillis left the school to take on the executive director of athletics role at the University of San Diego.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media