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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Process to find McNeese's new athletic director in early stages

Last Modified: Saturday, July 27, 2013 8:11 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

There will be no secrets when it comes to the selection of McNeese State’s new athletic director.

University president Dr. Philip Williams revealed Saturday that the finalists for the position will be introduced to the community when they visit the campus, similar to the process that took place when he was named to his current job in 2010.

“It’s an open, transparent search where we’re trying to involve everybody,” Williams said. “When we get to 3-5 finalists we’ll bring them to campus and invite the community to meet them. A big advantage to my experience coming in is when I was hired I already knew everybody. I didn’t have to break down any barriers. People welcomed me. It was much easier from Day 1.”

The process is still in its early stages.

McNeese has placed ads in various publications aimed at the appropriate audience, and Williams believes interim AD and search committee chair Bridget Martin will start seeing an influx in applications in the coming week.

Williams recognizes that a public search might scare off some candidates who might not be comfortable with their current employer knowing they are looking to move on. In the event the open search does not turn up the right candidate, Williams said he would go to a search firm to find the right person in a more discreet manner. However, he is optimistic such a move won’t be needed.

Williams said he has set 10 guidelines for the position, all of which will be considered with equal weight.

In his words:

1. Understanding NCAA and Southland Conference regulations to make sure McNeese never faces a compliance issue.

“Issues like that can overwhelm you, as we saw with Penn State,” Williams said.

2. Understanding the importance of academic progress and APR, and the importance we place on student-athletes graduating and having success in life.

3. A major goal is the winning of the Southland commissioner’s cup. We want all our sports to be up in terms of wins and losses. McNeese has been in top three and four the last several years.

4. Having great relationship with our Student Government Association. It may not be as obvious, but convincing the student body they’d benefit by paying a fee like the other schools in the Southland Conference have is important.

We need someone to convince the students to, in effect, tax themselves. In these times it’s a tough sell to make. But that can be huge in terms of creating a war chest to compete with other schools.

5. The ability to interact with major donors in a way to increase donations.

6. Increasing revenues from merchandise licensing and corporate sponsorships — just finding ways to raise money through auxiliary means.

7. Understanding the complexity of scheduling home and away games for 16 sports and knowing how to manage the game-day activities for those sports all the time.

8. Understanding the complexity of the state budget and ethics laws and explaining those to employees.

9. Maintaining excellent relations with me and my senior staff, such as the provost and chief financial officer. Athletics is part of a larger system and has to operate within that environment.

10. Maintaining a high-quality coaching staff and being a mentor and leader for those coaches. They have to know how to get someone who is good leader and mentor as well as someone who can win, and those are tough to do.

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