Kaler kicks off search for next athletics director

The new director will start July 1.

Kaler kicks off search for next athletics director


University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler formed a search committee and announced Tuesday that he has hired an independent firm to find the next athletics director.

The search advisory committee is made up of 21 members and a four-person search committee will work with Parker Executive Search, a firm that specializes in collegiate athletics, to advise Kaler on replacing current athletics director Joel Maturi, who will retire June 30.

Kaler said Parker Executive Search will likely be paid about $100,000 — maybe a little bit more — for its work. He said the firm is good at modern candidate searches and finding qualified candidates. Parker has completed 41 AD searches at public and private universities, including four from the Big Ten conference: Indiana University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois and University of Iowa.

The search committee hopes to have finalists named by late April, and Kaler plans on naming an AD by early May. The appointed person will begin work July 1, when Maturi retires and slides to an advisory role.

“The goal was to have an inclusive process with a wide variety of stakeholders,” Kaler said at a press conference. “We want to make this a timely and seamless transition.”

“We want the best qualified person in the United States to take this job,” he said.

Kaler added he would be “real comfortable” hiring someone with previous AD experience or a sitting AD at another school. But he said that he’s open to qualified candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds.

“It’s going to be a matter of the right fit, the right background and the right personal values,” he said.

He also said the new AD will be paid a Big Ten competitive rate, which ranges in salary anywhere from $350,000 to $1 million.

Maturi’s current pay package of University and non-University compensation is $451,000 according to a study of athletic directors by USA Today.

 The search committee members include Tim Mulcahy, vice president for research at the University; Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University; Amy Phenix, Kaler’s chief of staff; and John Lindahl, managing general partner with Norwest Equity Partners.

Mulcahy and Kane joined Kaler in a press conference Tuesday. Kaler said he trusted their ability to bring the search to a successful conclusion.

Kane said she was honored to be part of the process to “bring the best candidate we can to the University.”

She also chaired a similar committee a decade ago that eventually hired Maturi.

The larger search advisory committee will review and finalize the job description, advance names of qualified candidates to the search committee and participate in on-campus interviews, according to a University statement.

The search advisory committee includes a wide variety of stakeholders like coaches, faculty and athletic staff as well as student-athletes, quarterback MarQueis Gray and volleyball player Mia Tabberson.

Kaler said some potential candidates have crossed his mind, but he doesn’t have a certain person picked out. He will be briefed by the committees on the search until it is narrowed down to finalists, at which point he can join the interview process.

Kaler said the decision is significant but not the main goal of the University.

“[The athletic program] is an important part of the visibility of the institution,” Kaler said, “but this, first and foremost, is an academic institution.”