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.”