Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Colleges

USF AD search begins to focus

Bulls casting net wide in AD search

TAMPA — The president of the search firm hired to help select USF's next athletic director told the school's search committee Tuesday that sitting ADs, those from schools in similar markets and "out-of-the-box" candidates will receive consideration.

Bob Beaudine, president of Texas-based Eastman & Beaudine, toured USF's athletic facilities and met with coaches, administrators, boosters and student leaders Tuesday. He spent 35 minutes briefing five of the six search committee members. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik was absent.

No candidate was mentioned by name. The position is being vacated by Doug Woolard, who announced his retirement in January.

Dr. William Sutton, the committee chairman, said the search firm will likely present three to five finalists to the committee.

Beaudine suggested that those from outside the traditional university sector could warrant serious consideration, leaving the door open for Rob Higgins, a USF alumnus who has developed connections in college sports as executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, which has landed championship events such as the Frozen Four and Women's Final Four for the area. The group won the right to host the 2017 College Football Playoff title game.

"I think it's always important to bring some people in who are out-of-the box candidates who have a strong marketing and sales involvement in sports and bring the unique perspective to management of this process," Beaudine said.

Joey Knight, Times staff writer

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