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The 13-member committee tapped to select UNC’s next athletic director and the firm hired to lead the search met for the first time Wednesday to discuss candidates for the job.

Along with Bill Carr of Carr Sports Associates Inc., the search committee operated in closed session for nearly two hours. Committee chairman Lowry Caudill said he’s pleased with the amount of interest expressed for the job thus far.

Because the committee is leading a closed search, the names of candidates won’t be disclosed.

After hearing presentations from two different search firms at the committee’s first meeting Aug. 26, the University hired Florida-based Carr Sports Associates Inc. to help the committee in the search process.

“The University selected two search firms for us, and both are excellent search firms and nationally recognized,” Caudill said.

“We could only make a good decision. The committee had to decide of the two, which firm had the best fit for this particular search. We just felt that Bill Carr and Carr Sports Associates fit better for this particular search.”

Carr Sports Associates’ previous clients include North Carolina State, Duke, Virginia Maryland, Louisiana State and Texas. According to the contract between UNC and Carr Sports Associates, signed Aug. 30, the company will be paid $40,000, which will come from private funds.

Carr has firsthand experience in working with institutions across the country. At Wednesday’s meeting, he raved about the prominence of UNC.

“I think that you have a physical plant that is second to few,” Carr said. “I would place it in the upper five or 10 in the NCAA BCS programs. “(It is) Extraordinary, across the board with every sport, and I just appreciate that as we move forward.”

Assistant Equal Opportunity/ADA Officer Rudy Jones addressed the committee Wednesday, briefing it on appropriate ways to question candidates and a required online training module for committee members.

Jones stressed that members should approach the selection process with diversity in mind — not just racial diversity, he said, but also diversity of thought and experiences.

Steve Reznick, chairman of the faculty athletics committee, also spoke at Wednesday’s meeting. Reznick, who is in his fourth year as chairman, offered advice about specific lines of questioning for candidates.

Reznick said UNC’s next athletic director must not only connect with faculty members, but must also hold the coaches responsible for the academic success of his or her athletes.

“I think of working with coaches as somewhat more like herding lions,” Reznick said. “To be a coach, you have to have strength and know what you want to do and be able to get your team motivated. But an athletic director has to be able to herd the lions and be able to move them in the direction that we need to.”

Reznick praised the committee for putting together a thorough job description, which was included in the job posting on UNC’s human resources website.

Caudill said he was pleased that the committee, which will hold its next meeting Sept. 14, seemed to be on the same page as the faculty members about the necessary qualities of UNC’s next athletic director.

And while athletics is in the job title, academics can’t be overlooked, he said.

“Athletics and academics at Carolina have always been intertwined,” Caudill said. “We’ve done it that way for decades, and it’s just how we do things at Carolina.”

“It was nice to hear that where the committee’s head was, was already where faculty wanted it to be.”

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