Search committee for next WCU athletics director narrows list of candidates to 6

The 15-member search committee tasked with helping find the next director of intercollegiate athletics at Western Carolina University held it second meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12, and trimmed its list of candidates to six who will be invited to take part in off-campus interviews.

The committee, working with North Carolina-based executive search consulting firm Collegiate Sports Associates, had narrowed the slate of qualified candidates down to 42 for consideration at Wednesday’s meeting.

Ivy Gibson

“Our pool of candidates looks strong,” said Ivy Gibson, WCU’s associate general counsel who is chairing the search committee. “We have a good number of candidates with ties to the area and who have a broad range of leadership experience in the world of athletics.”

The backgrounds of the candidates under consideration include current athletics directors and associate or assistant athletics directors; other athletics administrators including those in sport operations and development; former coaches and athletes; university advancement and development professionals; managers of athletics-related businesses; and officials with athletics governing boards and associations, Gibson said.

The committee opened its meeting in public session before going into closed session in accordance with state open meetings laws, spending approximately four hours discussing qualifications and selecting the candidates who will move forward in the process. After completion of the off-campus interviews, the committee will invite no more than three finalists to participate in on-campus visits.

WCU Chancellor Kelli R. Brown announced formation of the committee on Dec. 18, asking the group to work quickly and collaboratively toward a goal of announcing the next leader of Catamount athletics by the end of February or early March.

The committee is guiding the search for a successor to Randy Eaton, who served as director of athletics from December 2011 until Dec. 10, 2019. Until a permanent director of athletics is named, the athletics staff is reporting to Mike Byers, WCU’s vice chancellor of administration and finance.

The committee includes current and former student-athletes, Catamount Club representatives, athletics department staff and members of the external community with experience in intercollegiate athletics.