AD search committee members chosen

by Brad Unangst

University officials Thursday named the 10-member committee in charge of finalizing candidates for athletics director.

The new director will head both men’s and women’s athletics, which will merge July 1. The University combined the departments to trim a projected $21 million athletics funding deficit.

“I feel very good about the committee,” University President Mark Yudof said. “There’s a real balance there.”

The committee is composed of student-athletes, alumni and University officials, including Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport, men’s hockey coach Don Lucia and women’s swimming coach Jean Freedman.

“It’s a terrific group of people,” said Kane, the committee chairwoman. “It represents a depth and breadth of stakeholders in women’s and men’s athletics at the University of Minnesota.”

The committee’s goal is to identify up to 10 potential candidates with Division I athletics experience, Kane said.

Yudof and University Vice President Tonya Moten Brown said a new director must have strong financial background, administrative skills and a record of support for women’s athletics.

“We want to make sure whoever gets this job is extremely sympathetic to women athletes and equalities of gender and conformity to Title IX,” Yudof said.

The new director must also have “proactive integrity” to report any NCAA rules violations immediately, Yudof said.

Yudof said the University might recruit from athletics departments at schools such as Penn State and Stanford, which have demonstrated a commitment to women’s athletics and to fielding competitive teams.

University officials have not identified any potential candidates, but Yudof said he has been sent six to eight names, which were passed on to Moten Brown and Kane.

The committee plans to present three or four finalists to University officials by June 13, Kane said.

Yudof said he must approve any offer to a new athletics director and hopes to have someone in place by July 1.

The committee will meet for the first time April 29.

Brad Unangst welcomes comments at [email protected]