After former USF Athletic Director (AD) Mark Harlan left USF to accept the same position at Utah on June 1, USF’s search for a new AD is in full force.
A meeting at USF’s athletics center between William Sutton, the leader of a search committee tasked with finding USF’s next AD, and a committee of three other prominent USF figures, was held Monday.
“I think we’re looking for somebody with significant experience,” Sutton said. “Would we consider people that are not in college athletics? Possibly. I don’t know that. I don’t know the answer to that.”
At the conference, the committee announced Eastman & Beaudine, the same search firm that helped hire Harlan, would assist USF this time around, too.
According to Eastman & Beaudine’s website, the firm’s goal is to “meet with each of the key client executives involved in the assignment to fully understand the organization’s structure, job content, and personal qualities and career experience necessary.”
A flowchart on Eastman & Beaudine’s website shows the process the firm will use to put together a list of potential candidates for Sutton and his committee to review.
Sutton’s three other committee members, Senior VP of Advancement and Alumni Relations & USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg; Executive Advisory Council Member for the Muma College of Business George Morgan; and former USF men’s basketball player Anddrikk Frazier.
Both Karen Holbrook, USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor, and Jose Valiente, a USF accounting alumnus, also serve on the committee, but were unable to attend.
All four who were present made it clear that there is no time frame or deadline to hire a new AD.
“We are just going with the flow right now,” Momberg said. “The sooner the better, but we just want to make sure that we hire someone that can build on what we’ve got.”
Another area of focus USF will concentrate on is experience when it comes to fundraising. With discussions about an on-campus football stadium and a proposed indoor football training facility, finding funding for these projects is among top concerns.
“[We’re looking for] someone who can get us on firm financial footing,” Sutton said.
According to Sutton, numerous people have already expressed interest in the unfilled position at USF and he is pleased with all of them.
“This time around, the number of candidates that have already contacted me, I’ve been very impressed with,” Sutton said. “I think anybody that’s qualified we will take a look at.”
When asked about whether Derrick Brooks or Ken Eriksen were in contention for the new position, committee members did not confirm or deny any candidates, though Morgan said “that’s the public’s opinion.”
Tampa is growing and the new AD will need to help USF Athletics keep up. According to the Tampa Bay Times, 58,000 people moved to Tampa in 2016 alone. A $3 billion project is currently transforming downtown Tampa and the USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute is being built across from Amalie Arena.
“We have a hockey team that was the number one franchise two years ago in all professional sports,” Sutton said. “We just have to do our share and live up to that and have one of the greatest athletic programs we can possibly have to go along with the great university.”