President Eric Kaler Announces Search Plan for New Athletics Director

Go Gophers! President Kaler announced Tuesday the search plan for a new Gophers athletics director.
Go Gophers!
President Kaler announced Tuesday the search plan for a new Gophers athletics director.
Go Gophers!

Feb. 21, 2012

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has named a search committee and selected Parker Executive Search to lead the search for the next director of athletics.

A 21-member search advisory committee and a four-person search committee will work with the leading national executive search firm in collegiate athletics to advise Kaler regarding a successor to Joel Maturi, who will retire from his duties as director of athletics June 30.

“A strong, diverse athletics program committed to academic and competitive success is important to the overall excellence and vitality of the University of Minnesota,” Kaler said. “As a public window to our tremendous university, Gopher Athletics connects students, alumni, faculty, staff and the greater community to this great institution.

“The search for our next athletics director demands a thorough and inclusive process. I am confident the search will produce a candidate who ensures University of Minnesota athletics operates with the highest integrity, and is dedicated to the development of the student athlete and committed to athletic success.”

The next University of Minnesota athletics director will lead a program nationally lauded for both academic and competitive success. Gopher Athletics has recorded top-15 finishes in Directors’ Cup standings two of the last three academic years, and has been in the top 30 for 16 consecutive years. Befitting its stature as one of the nation’s premier public research universities, Minnesota placed 68 student-athletes on the Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar Athletes list in 2010-11, matching Michigan State for most honorees by an individual school.

Minnesota’s 25-sport program boasts impressive facilities, including TCF Bank Stadium, the conference’s first new on-campus stadium in nearly 50 years. With more than 400,000 “U” alumni, the Twin Cities campus draws an average of nearly 1 million fans to Gopher athletic events annually.

The search advisory committee will identify the qualities desired in a new athletics director, review and finalize the job description, advance names of qualified candidates to the search committee, participate in on-campus interviews and assist with the on-boarding process. The four-person search committee will conduct confidential semi-finalist interviews and will recommend finalists to President Kaler for on-campus interviews. To ensure a clear and direct line of input between the committees, both committees will be co-chaired by Tim Mulcahy, vice president for research, and Mary Jo Kane, professor of kinesiology and director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

The search committee aims to have finalists identified by late April. Kaler’s goal is to name the next director of athletics in early May, with a new AD starting at the University July 1.

The search committee reflects the university’s core mission, representing its academic, research and community-driven values. The four members of the search committee are:

R. Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research, University of Minnesota (co-chair)
Tim Mulcahy was appointed vice president for research on Feb. 1, 2005. He is responsible for the oversight and administration of externally funded research on the five campuses of the University of Minnesota system and with overseeing the overall vitality of the university research environment. Mulcahy earned a Ph.D. in pathology and radiological sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a faculty member at that university from 1985 to 2005. Since his appointment as vice president for research, Mulcahy has chaired the search committees for the positions of chancellor, University of Minnesota-Rochester, and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Mary Jo Kane, director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, University of Minnesota (co-chair)
Mary Jo Kane is professor and director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport in the School of Kinesiology. Kane, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is an internationally recognized scholar on the social and economic impact of Title IX. She has been involved in faculty governance, serving on the Faculty Consultative Committee (1999-2000 and 2002-05) and as vice chair of the University Senate (2006-08). In 2007 Kane was named one of the 100 most influential sport educators by the International Institute for Sport. Kane recently received the Distinguished Merit Award from the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership.

Amy Phenix, chief of staff, Office of the President, University of Minnesota
Amy Phenix oversees several functions reporting to the president’s office, including day-to-day operational reporting of intercollegiate athletics, communications, marketing, compliance and the University Senate office. A veteran of communications management roles in the private and public sector, Phenix holds a master of business administration degree from the Carlson School of Management.

John E. Lindahl, managing general partner, Norwest Equity Partners
John Lindahl is the managing general partner at Norwest Equity Partners (NEP), where he is credited with growing the firm into one of the nation’s leading private equity firms. A 1968 graduate from the Carlson School of Management, he is a dedicated alumnus whose generosity and commitment is demonstrated through his civic leadership and service. In addition to several endowed professorships and scholarships, John and his wife, Nancy, took a lead role in the TCF Bank Stadium fundraising campaign.

The larger search advisory committee brings together faculty, staff, students, community leaders and alumni. Its members:

  • Co-chairs - Mulcahy and Kane
  • Student Athletes – MarQueis Gray, football; Mia Tabberson, volleyball
  • Coaches – Don Lucia, men’s hockey; Meg Stephenson, women’s gymnastics
  • Athletic Staff – Dan O’Brien, football operations
  • Faculty and Academic leadership – Perry Leo, professor and department director, aerospace engineering, and faculty athletic representative; Linda Brady, professor, food science and nutrition, and faculty athletic representative; Virginia Zuiker, associate professor, family social science, and chair, Advisory Committee on Athletics; Walt Jacobs, associate professor and chair, African American & African Studies, and vice chair, Faculty Consultative Committee; Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education
  • Compliance – JT Bruett, director, athletic compliance
  • Community Members – Julianne Bye, Archie Givens, Nancy Lindahl, Peggy Lucas, Dave Mona, Lou Nanne, Mark Sheffert and Darrell Thompson
  • Former student athletes – Quincy Lewis, basketball; and Sue Grimm, swimming, president, M Club

Parker Executive Search, led by President Dan Parker, has completed successful athletics director searches at 41 public and private universities, including 18 schools from a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) automatic qualifying conference. This list also includes four from the Big Ten Conference: Indiana University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois and University of Iowa.

Parker and his firm have completed more than 1,000 senior level searches and, in 2007, Parker was named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the 10 most influential people in collegiate athletics.

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