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UNC’s athletic director search committee holds first meeting

Todd Turner of "Collegiate Sports Associates" speaks to the Athletic Board as they begin their search for a new UNC Athletic Director

The 13-member search committee that was formed to help find North Carolina’s next athletic director held its first meeting on Friday, at which the group refined the job description and decided to employ the services of a national search firm.

The committee will help chancellor Holden Thorp by narrowing down candidates to replace current athletic director Dick Baddour, who announced his resignation after 40 years at UNC at a July 28 press conference — a day after the University announced that football coach Butch Davis had been fired.

And while it will be up to UNC officials to fill two vacant jobs in the coming months, they are dedicated to first finding a new athletic director before the search for a new football coach begins.

“This is an important moment in the history of the University. We’re at a difficult time, and we’re also at a time of great potential,” Thorp said in an address to the committee.

“We do have a proud tradition and a history of being one of the great athletic programs in America, and I’m sure you guys will help us figure out how to continue that.”

At the meeting, committee members helped fine-tune the job description, which will be included in the job listing. The ad must be posted for at least 30 days before a hire can be made.

Names of finalists for the position will not be announced in order to preserve the privacy of potential candidates who might currently hold jobs elsewhere.

Though the committee plans to consider internal candidates for the job, with the help of an outside search firm, the committee plans to conduct a nationwide search.

“My charge for you is to look everywhere,” Thorp said. “I want you to look around the country for people with experience in athletics and administration, wherever they may be.”

The committee decided to use a search firm after hearing from representatives of two different firms and weighing the positives and negatives of each one’s services.

Committee chairman Lowry Caudill, who will meet with Thorp to decide which firm to use, said the service will be paid for by private funds from the athletic department and the Rams Club.

During the meeting, the committee described its ideal candidate as having integrity and being a “coach of coaches.”

The members were also in agreement that the next athletic director had to understand the culture at UNC — and be willing to move on from a troubled past.

“We’re not broken,” said Martina Ballen, committee member and chief financial officer of the department of athletics. “We’ve had some issues, but we’ve had a lot of great success.”

Caudill noted that Baddour and predecessor John Swofford, who is currently the ACC commissioner, have set the bar high for UNC athletic directors.

But it’s the committee’s job, he said, to make sure that the next candidate lives up to their legacies.

“If there were a hall of fame for athletic directors, and (Baddour and Swofford) would be in it, then our challenge is to find someone of that same caliber, who when they look back at their career, they would be in it as well,” Caudill said.

Contact the Sports Editor


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