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USF Athletic Director Search Committee: “Significant Experience Required” in Any Candidate

Dr. Bill Sutton heads the search committee with five other prominent USF players.

Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede

On Monday morning at the Lee Roy Selmon Athletic Center, Dr. William Sutton, the head of the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Management Program, met with three of the five members of the search committee to find the new USF Athletic Director to discuss what they are looking for in any potential candidate.

Sutton made clear that significant experience leading a staff and possibly already having been an athletic director are vital to what any candidate must bring to the table.

“I think [previous AD experience] would be something we’re very interested in. It won’t hold anybody out. But, I think we’re at the level with where we are and where we’re going that the more experience you have in dealing with donors and dealing with boosters and dealing the media, social media and experience in dealing with your own staff...we’ll probably look for somebody that’s done something [like that].

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and USF alumnus Jose Valiente were not in attendance at the meeting due to scheduling conflicts. Former men’s basketball player Anddrikk Frazier, USF senior VP and CEO of the USF Foundation Joel Momberg, and the Chair of the USF Foundation Board George Morgan were in the meeting.

Former AD Mark Harlan struggled to connect with donors which goes hand-in-hand with his inability to fund-raise for the USF Football Facility that was announced in November of last year. Sutton acknowledged that fund-raising will be an important attribute to have for any new hire, but isn’t the most important.

Another key attribute Sutton will be looking for is someone who has and can cultivate relationships with other conferences and governing bodies to keep grow the department and match what the rest of the university has been able to accomplish like preeminence.

“I’d like to see us elevate our program nationally so that more people are aware of who we are, more people are interested in as a partner in new conference or an existing conference” Sutton said.

Bob Beaudine of Eastman & Beaudine will be the contact person for Sutton during the search and will vet any candidates that the committee bring to him as well as looking for candidates on his own.

Sutton spoke with Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director Rob Higgins—who took his name out of the running— last week to discuss what they want in a new AD.

“I appreciate his viewpoint. He’s got a job to do and he’s excited about doing it and at the same time he wants to make sure he can help USF. So, he’s probably going to be involved some way or another helping us, advising me or giving us insight. We may have a candidate meet with Rob.”