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UND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SEARCH: School to hire consultant

UND will hire a consultant to help identify a pool of qualified candidates to become the school's next athletic director, a search committee decided Tuesday.

UND will hire a consultant to help identify a pool of qualified candidates to become the school's next athletic director, a search committee decided Tuesday.

Cost for the consultant will be $15,000 to $20,000, said Greg Weisenstein, committee chair.

Weisenstein said the committee will be used "to develop as large a pool of qualified candidates as possible."

The entire search process will cost about $25,000, said Weisenstein, UND provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The committee talked about required and preferred qualifications during the meeting. The two hot topics involved whether the new athletic director should have Division I experience and whether the person should have athletic administrative experience at any level.


After discussion, the committee decided Division I experience will be preferred and three years of athletic administrative experience will be required.

Amanda Kaler, a UND golfer who's on the committee, said students she talked with wanted an athletic director with Division I experience.

"That was one of the things they felt strongest about," Kaler said.

But Jody Hodgson, general manager of Ralph Engelstad Arena, and others said they would prefer Division I experience be preferred rather than required, thus broadening the pool and not eliminating those who meet all other requirements.

"Aren't we all saying the same thing, talking about who would be the best person to fill the job?" Hodgson said. "Isn't the discussion about how big do we make the pie? Isn't the list about on whether it's required or preferred (about) how big do we make the pie with the initial screening?"

"I absolutely support preference or extra points for somebody who brings that to the table," Hodgson added.

Committee member Hal Gershman said: "I wouldn't diminish the impact of the word 'preferred.' . . . If you 'prefer' that, that to me says a lot on your scale."

There also was considerable discussion about whether the athletic director should have athletic administration experience.


After a straw poll, Weisenstein said: "We'll keep athletic administrative experience as a requirement."

The discussion didn't end there.

Diane Nelson, UND human resources director and a member of the committee, was asked her opinion on how to put athletic administration experience on the job qualifications.

"We're recruiting for the athletic director at the University of North Dakota," Nelson said. "It just seems to me you need to have athletic administration experience.

"Now, if it's not at the Division I level, OK, we say 'preferred.' But we have student-athletes, we have staff, we have coaches who are depending on the leadership of the program for this position, not to mention all the other constituents."

The committee will meet Dec. 13.

The position will be posted in January. The position opened when Tom Buning resigned after less than three years as athletic director.

Reach Fee at 780-1127, (800) 477-6572 ext. 127 or kfee@gfherald.com . Read his blog at www.areavoices.com/fee .

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