LAS CRUCES – The list of names for the next New Mexico State athletic director has been whittled from 48 applicants to nine candidates who will be interviewed.
Committee chairman Larry Lujan said interviews are being scheduled for over the next 10 days to find the successor to McKinley Boston, whose contract expires on Dec. 31. The intent is to recommend “three to five” choices, Lujan said, for NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, who will make the hire.
“Our job is to make President Carruthers’ job as miserable as possible,” Lujan said. “I’m very, very optimistic that we have some really good candidates.”
The 15-person NMSU search committee originally identified 11 candidates to move forward in the selection process. Two withdrew from the search on Wednesday, Lujan told the Journal.
The list of remaining candidates, according to a report from the Las Cruces Sun-News:
The two candidates who withdrew on Wednesday are John Cordova, sports management group director, Coca-Cola; and Marlin Musch, director of college, amateur and junior player development, Nike Golf. Both had direct ties to New Mexico State – Cordova is an Albuquerque native and was an Aggie football player who graduated in 1981 and remains an active NMSU supporter in his role with Coca-Cola. Musch played golf at NMSU from 1972-76 and coached at UTEP for eight years before taking a variety of jobs such as executive director of the Sun Bowl, Ping representative and an agent for Gaylord Sports.
Moccia is one of two active major-college athletic directors who are among the final nine. He has been the Southern Illinois athletics director since 2006 and was reportedly a finalist for the Georgia State job last year.
Moccia graduated from NMSU in 1989, where he was a two-year player on the Aggies baseball team before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1989. He was inducted to the NMSU Hall of Fame in 1998.
According to his bio on the Southern Illinois website, Moccia helped raise funds for nearly $90 million worth of improvements to athletics facilities.
Southern Illinois is currently a FCS member in football, a sport that has been identified as a priority at NMSU by the current administration.
“The first thing that I think is very necessary is strong leadership skills,” Lujan said. “Being a very strong leader is indicative of having success. Not every person is going to be perfect. If you are a strong leader, you will figure out the parts and pieces that you need and how to go about getting it done whether it’s fund raising or hiring coaches. … You have to be aware of everything that is necessary and (Carruthers) has just put a pretty strong emphasis on the fact that we have to build all of the revenue streams.”
Tuesday morning, collegead.org released a list of 48 applicants for the position.
There were numerous applicants with ties to New Mexico State, including current deputy athletics director David McCollum and former NMSU associated athletics director Maria Roth (now at Memphis), who was one of two women to apply for the position. Idaho athletics director Rob Spear reportedly was also among the applicants.