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University of Minnesota announces search committee and search firm for Gopher athletics director search

A 16-member search committee was named today by University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler to conduct a national search for the next director of Golden Gopher Athletics.

“The search for our next athletics director must bring our community together, and we have assembled a strong, diverse search committee to do that,” said Kaler. “Gopher Athletics must reflect the overall excellence of the University, and I’m confident this search will produce candidates with integrity and a record of success.”

Katrice Albert, the University’s vice president for equity and diversity, and Perry Leo, professor of aerospace engineering and faculty athletics representative, will co-chair the search committee.

The other members of the search committee reflect many stakeholder groups that are critical to Gopher Athletics’ success. They include the following faculty members, a head coach, a current student-athlete, former student-athletes, business people and community members:

  • Duke Anyanwu - Gopher student-athlete; Member, Advisory Committee on Athletics
  • Shari Ballard - President of U.S. Retail, Best Buy Corporation; Trustee, University of Minnesota Foundation
  • Jeremiah Carter - Director of Athletic Compliance; former Gopher student-athlete
  • Kevin Cattoor - Chief Operating Officer, Foodsby; Former Executive Vice President, Minnesota Twins
  • Bob Cunningham - Chief Executive Officer, Tri-County Implement; Member, President’s Club, University of Minnesota Foundation
  • Marty Davis - President & Chief Executive Officer, Cambria: Member, Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership Council
  • Emily Hoover - Professor of Horticulture; Faculty Athletics Representative
  • Lisa Kihl - Associate Professor of Kinesiology; Chair, sub-committee on Equity and Diversity, Advisory Committee on Athletics
  • Lisa Lissimore - Associate Director, Minnesota State High School League; Former Gopher student-athlete
  • Hugh McCutcheon - Head Coach, Golden Gopher Volleyball
  • Deborah Olson - CEO & Chair, Nelson Laboratories (retired); Member, Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership Council
  • Darrell Thompson - President, Bolder Options; Former Gopher student-athlete
  • Tom Vannelli - Director of Corporate Sales & Marketing, 3M Championship; Former Gopher student-athlete
  • Kevin Warren - Chief Operating Officer, Minnesota Vikings; Trustee, University of Minnesota Foundation

To assist with the search, nationally-recognized Turnkey Search has been retained. Turnkey Search, based in Haddonfield, N.J., is a subsidiary of Turnkey Sports and Entertainment. The lead consultants for this search will be Turnkey founder and CEO Len Perna and Senior Executive Director Gene DeFilippo, who is also the former athletics director at Boston College and Villanova. The firm was selected through an open competitive bidding process and will be paid a flat fee of $150,000 plus expenses. Turnkey’s recent comparable searches include the University of Michigan Athletics Director and Georgetown University Athletics Director.

“More than anything, this search must surface the highest quality candidates and the process must reflect the integrity we expect of our next Athletics Director,” said Kaler. “Turnkey brings significant professionalism and the ability to convince strong candidates who already have outstanding jobs, to consider this opportunity.”

Kaler noted that search fees are typically one-third of a first year Athletics Director’s salary plus expenses. The current median salary for Big Ten Athletics Directors is $750,000.

Kaler said he expects the search committee to meet immediately to finalize the position description and then, in cooperation with Turnkey, begin sourcing candidates nationally. Semi-finalist candidates will likely be interviewed in six to eight weeks. The search co-chairs will be the spokespeople for the search and will also reach out to key stakeholders to help shape the position description and qualifications.

Jon Steadland, Associate to the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, will serve as the President’s liaison to the search committee and provide additional staff support to the process.

For more information on the search for the University of Minnesota's next director of athletics, visit: http://president.umn.edu/athletics-director-search.


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