CHAPEL HILL – Five days after the University of North Carolina posted its athletic director job, search committee chair Lowry Caudill said this morning he has been pleased with the response.
“For a week into the process formally, I’m very impressed with the quality of the candidates that have been nominated or presented themselves,” Caudill said today after a meeting of the search committee.
The committee met for about 2 ½ hours this morning, and all but the first 30 minutes were conducted privately in executive session while candidates were discussed.
Committee members have been instructed to keep the identity of candidates confidential, and Caudill declined even to specify how many candidates are being considered.
Caudill would not discuss a timeline, either, but the new athletic director’s first big job will be hiring a full-time football coach. The current athletic director, Dick Baddour, is retiring to allow his successor to pick former football coach Butch Davis’ permanent replacement.
Everett Withers is serving this season as interim coach following Davis' firing in July.
“We’re going to be thoughtful,” Caudill said. “We’re going to be thorough. But we’re doing it at an uptempo pace. We understand the connectivity of the athletic director hire and the hiring of the football coach. We understand that timing. But at the same time we’re not deadline driven. We’re driven to find the right candidate.”
Before the meeting was closed to the public, faculty athletics chair Steve Reznick explained to the committee some of the faculty’s wishes for the new athletic director.
“One of our most important things is that the athletics director understand our academic mission and consider it important and be able to emanate positive vibrations about understanding academics at Carolina,” Reznick said.
Reznick said the faculty would like an athletic director who is:
- Committed to the well-being and success of student-athletes with education defined broadly. That includes encouraging them to choose a major that interests them and launching them toward the career they ultimately are seeking.
- Willing to hold coaches responsible for athletes’ academic success.
- Able to establish mutual respect and trust with the faculty.
Caudill said he was pleased that there was so much overlap between the faculty’s wishes and the job description posted by the committee.
Today’s meeting was the first since UNC chose search firm Carr and Associates to help find a new athletics director. Consultant Bill Carr has helped find athletic directors at Duke, Kentucky and Auburn.
Carr is being paid $50,000.
“He has been in the search business for decades ... and understands how to go about this process,” Caudill said.