External firm to lead search for next AD

Despite initial concerns with hiring a search firm, President Kaler said the U will use one.

Youssef Rddad

The University of Minnesota will use an external search firm to hire its next athletics director, President Eric Kaler announced on Thursday.
 
 
Kaler previously said he was against using a search firm. While Vice President of Human Resources Kathy Brown said she supported the decision at a Board of Regents meeting last week, some regents said the school should find the next leader of the athletics department internally. 
 
 
 “The search process was not the reason that we got a guy that turned out to behave very badly,” Kaler said Thursday, highlighting an external review of the University’s athletics department released last December, which said the firm that recommended former athletics director Norwood Teague could not have known about previous allegations.  
 
 
Teague’s resignation last August after he admitted to sexually harassing two colleagues prompted the external review of the department. Other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in the weeks after his resignation.
 
 
In 2012, the University paid Atlanta-based search firm Parker Executive Search more than $110,000 to find Teague when he replaced retiring athletic director Joel Maturi. 
 
 
The fees included $90,000 in professional consultation fees, a $10,800 fee for general expenses, a reimbursable $25,000 fee for travel and interview expenses.  
 
 
At Thursday’s meeting, Brown said the majority of athletics director searches in the Big Ten involve search firms.
 
 
Regent Thomas Anderson agreed with the decision to hire a search firm at Friday’s board meeting. He said an internal and local search might narrow the scope of the search. 
 
 
“I think we can interview the internal candidates, and I think we can use a search firm to find candidates that we might not otherwise know about,” Anderson said Friday
 
 
“If we’re going to bring athletics to the highest point we can, we better be all in.”
 
 
But at Friday’s meeting, Regent Darrin Rosha said he was skeptical of using a firm to find a candidate. 
 
 
He said he’d rather see a strong internal search for someone loyal to the state that would not use the job as a resume booster. 
 
 
“I think we have a wide range of those candidates available to us through the local community,” Rosha said. “[A search firm costs] $100,000 or more [and] would be better spent on other things, [including] reducing tuition.” 
 
 
Though concerns were raised about the use of search firms to hire top administrators, Kaler and Brown said they intend to improve the upcoming search and hiring process.
 
 
Kaler said he expects to name a search firm in March and plans to hire the new athletics director by July 1
 
 
The University is encouraging the public to nominate perspective candidates for a search committee that will help in the hiring process. 
 
 
“I am looking forward to what the candidate pool will be,” Kaler said Thursday.
 
 
Interim Athletics Director Beth Goetz announced on Friday that she plans to seek the job.
 
 
“It has been an honor to lead the University of Minnesota Athletics Department during this time of transition, and I am more passionate than ever about the opportunity for the Gophers to achieve excellence athletically, academically and in the development of our future leaders,” she said in an emailed statement.
 
 
Goetz, who previously was associate athletics director at the University, replaced Teague after he resigned. She formerly served as the senior woman administrator at Butler University, and the University hired her in 2013.