Committee aims to find new AD by early summer

Chuck Neinas and Hinks Shimberg addressed a search committee Tuesday to outline the qualifications USF is looking for in its new athletic director as well as to set a timeline for the committee to complete its task.

Neinas, president of the Neinas Sports Services Consulting Firm in Boulder, Colo., described to the committee the attributes necessary for the new AD to head a USF program that has been on the rise for several years. He also said there is a lot of progress still to be made at the university, and the program had several tools in place to draw highly qualified candidates.

“One plus is (USF President) Judy Genshaft’s commitment to making athletics important in enhancing the university’s image,” Neinas said. “We need to find candidates who understand the dynamics of intercollegiate athletics, which is in itself an industry. We need a strong manager and a good organizer to run a growing department.”

Neinas, whose responsibility was described by Shimberg as to separate qualified candidates from unqualified ones, said USF has many promising opportunities for applicants, including a nearly completed athletic facility, a move to the Big East Conference in 2005 and a well-run athletic department.

Shimberg, the committee’s chairman, said the search will commence Thursday when the university will start advertising for applicants and the committee will begin to consider candidates. Three applications have already been submitted, but they will not be considered until the search has begun.

“There will likely be a very large pool of candidates, but many of them will not be qualified for the position,” Shimberg said. “Our job, along with (Neinas), is to sort the most qualified candidates from this pool.”

Applicants thus far include Jim Bowden, general manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1992 to 2003, Mark Hollis, associate athletic director at Michigan State since 1995, and Johnny Williams, athletic director at Troy State since 1994.

Shimberg also said the committee should aim to have a new AD hired by early- to mid-summer, with interviews with candidates likely to happen in mid- to late-May, depending on the volume of applications.

“We want the job done as fast as possible, but we don’t want to rush it and overlook qualified applicants who should be included in the search,” Shimberg said.

Shimberg closed the meeting, which was held in the Alumni Association conference room at the Alumni Center, by saying the committee has three responsibilities: “To recommend candidates to Neinas for his firm to consider; to participate in the interviewing process; and to make a collective decision on which candidates will be recommended to Genshaft for her to make a final decision.”