SEARCH NEARS END

UNM’s search for a new ath­letic di­rec­tor is com­ing down the stretch

Albuquerque Journal - - FRONT PAGE - BY GE­OFF GRAM­MER JOUR­NAL STAFF WRITER

It might not hap­pen by the time the foot­ball sea­son kicks off this week­end at Dream­style Sta­dium, but the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico will likely have its new ath­letic di­rec­tor se­lected within the next week or so, the Jour­nal has learned.

While nei­ther Board of Re­gents pres­i­dent Rob Doughty, who is chair­ing UNM’s 10-per­son search com­mit­tee for the ath­letic di­rec­tor, nor In­terim Pres­i­dent Chaouki Ab­dal­lah, who will ul­ti­mately make the hire, would of­fer a spe­cific date, both con­firmed a de­ci­sion is im­mi­nent.

Some can­di­dates will be in­ter­viewed in per­son by Ab­dal­lah in the com­ing week, though UNM has not con­firmed where or when those in­ter­views will take place.

“I will be in­ter­view­ing the can­di­dates per­son­ally and look for­ward to re­ceiv­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the search com­mit­tee and feed­back from other con­stituents,” Ab­dal­lah wrote in an email. “I ex­pect to be mak­ing the an­nounce­ment in the next 1-2 weeks.”

UNM’s for­mer ath­letic di­rec­tor, Paul Krebs, an­nounced his re­tire­ment June 1 amid two in­ves­ti­ga­tions — a spe­cial au­dit from the Of­fice of the State Au­di­tor, the other from the New Mex­ico At­tor­ney Gen­eral — into the fundrais­ing prac­tices and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment of the depart­ment he ran for 11 years. Both in­ves­ti­ga­tions are pend­ing, but nei­ther seemed to scare can­di­dates off, Doughty said.

“The can­di­dates who have been in­ter­viewed, the com­mit­tee has dis­cussed some of the is­sues that have been re­ported on. And the can­di­dates were very knowl­edge­able about the sit­u­a­tion and still very up­beat, in­ter­ested and view­ing it as a job they very much wanted,” Doughty said.

In June, UNM re­tained At­lanta-based Parker Ex­ec­u­tive Search and formed a 10-per­son com­mit­tee from the UNM com­mu­nity.

Parker han­dled the ini­tial ap­pli­cants and vet­ted the can­di­dates be­fore hav­ing sev­eral avail­able for Doughty and three other search com­mit­tee mem­bers to in­ter­view in At­lanta last week. The Jour­nal has not been able to con­firm the num­ber, but it is be­lieved to be about a dozen.

Doughty con­firmed the trip to At­lanta that in­cluded him­self and three search com­mit­tee

mem­bers: fel­low re­gent Mar­ron Lee, UNM ex­ec­u­tive VP David Har­ris and law school dean Al­dred D. Mathew­son.

While the rest of the com­mit­tee did not fly to At­lanta, the mem­bers have been in­volved in the search and will be heav­ily in­volved in the com­ing days in fi­nal­iz­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion to Ab­dal­lah.

Doughty said he can’t say who was in­ter­viewed in At­lanta, and Daniel Parker, vice pres­i­dent of Parker Ex­ec­u­tive Search, has de­clined com­ment to the Jour­nal, which is cus­tom­ary for such searches as can­di­dates of­ten will not pur­sue such jobs if their names be­come pub­lic.

That is dif­fer­ent from when Krebs was hired in March 2006 and UNM not only re­leased the names of the three fi­nal­ists, but held pub­lic fo­rums be­fore mak­ing the hire.

Of the few can­di­dates re­main­ing, Doughty in­sisted he’s con­fi­dent the com­mit­tee will be rec­om­mend­ing a qual­ity can­di­date.

“This has been a very good process,” Doughty said. “I’m very op­ti­mistic that we’ll have an AD who is fit for the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico as soon as we can.”

MARLA BROSE/JOUR­NAL

Fele­cia Martinez, right, walks with Elena Ga­bal­don, left, and Stephanie Mon­toya on Tues­day as a worker helps in­stall a new sign at Dream­style Sta­dium. UNM opens its foot­ball sea­son on Satur­day.

GREG SORBER/JOUR­NAL

Board of Re­gents pres­i­dent Rob Doughty says the search com­mit­tee has dis­cussed some of UNM’s is­sues with ath­letic di­rec­tor can­di­dates.

JIM THOMPSON/JOUR­NAL

UNM Pres­i­dent Chaouki Ab­dal­lah says he ex­pects to make an an­nounce­ment on a new ath­letic di­rec­tor in the next one or two weeks.

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