UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois has an enormous task ahead of him: finding an athletics director to replace Judy Rose, who announced her retirement Thursday, effective June 30.
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Dubois said he will hire a consulting firm and also form a search committee, which he will lead, to find a candidate who can take the 49ers athletic department to a new level – presumably with football and men’s basketball as top priorities.
Dubois didn’t give a timetable for when the new athletics director will be hired. He said he would prefer to hire a current athletic director at a Group of 5 conference school (Charlotte’s Conference USA, Sun Belt, American Athletic, Mid-American or Western Athletic) or a senior administrator at a Power 5 school (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 or Pac-12).
Whomever gets the job, he or she must have a background in football, solid marketing and fund-raising skills, social media savvy and be up to snuff on NCAA compliance issues. Not to mention decide the fate of football coach Brad Lambert and interim men’s basketball coach Houston Fancher.
So, to help Dubois get started, we offer eight potential candidates that Dubois – or the consulting firm – should consider.
Morrison, 64, who resigned as Carolina Panthers president in 2017, is a former athletics director at Texas Christian and Wofford, in addition to being Southern Conference commissioner from 2001-05. All that football success you see at TCU these days? Much of it comes from groundwork laid by Morrison. Morrison, who is teaching a sports management class at South Carolina, is most certainly being courted by other schools, so the 49ers might need to act fast.
Charlie Cobb, Georgia State
Now athletics director at Georgia State, Cobb was Appalachian State’s AD during the Mountaineers’ run of three consecutive NCAA Football Championship Subdivision championships.
He then led the Mountaineers in their successful jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt.
Cobb, 49, has been in charge at Georgia State since 2014, as the Panthers’ young football program has quickly progressed, playing in bowl games in 2015 and ’17.
Cobb played football at N.C. State and might have his eyes on that job when Debbie Yow retires.
Graham Neff, Clemson
Neff, a 2006 Georgia Tech graduate, joined Clemson’s department in 2013 and is deputy athletics director.
He’s in charge of the Tigers’ athletics finances, and athletics director Dan Radakovich isn’t hesitant to let Neff speak to the media about athletic department matters. Another plus: Neff was associate AD at Middle Tennessee before going to Clemson, so he knows his way around Conference USA.
Marvin Lewis, Georgia Tech
Another possibility with Georgia State connections. Now the associate athletics director for finance and administration at Georgia Tech (where he played basketball), Lewis worked at Georgia State from 2008-12 as the Panthers started up their football program.
Charles Waddell, South Carolina
Waddell, a former three-sport athlete at North Carolina in 1970s, has been deputy athletics director at South Carolina since 2011.
He was also director of marketing and sponsorships for the Carolina Panthers from 1995-2002, helping raise more than $100 million for the team. Waddell was also a vice chancellor at Fayetteville State before joining the Gamecocks in 2006 at associate athletics director.
Omar Banks, Virginia Tech
Banks has only been at Virginia Tech for one year – he was named the Hokies’ senior associate athletics director for finance and administration in January 2017. He had been on the athletics department staff at Cincinnati since 2009.
Gerald Harrison, Duke
Harrison would presumably come with high recommendations from Duke football coach David Cutcliffe. Harrison has been Duke’s primary football administrator since 2008, when the Blue Devils’ football resurgence began under Cutcliffe.
Julie Cromer Peoples, Arkansas
Considered a rising star in athletics administration, Cromer Peoples served briefly as Arkansas’ interim athletics director after Jeff Long was fired in November.
Cromer Peoples is the Razorbacks’ associate vice chancellor for athletics and also worked at the NCAA for 10 years.
David Scott: @davidscott14
Carolinas’ Division I ADs
List of athletics directors at Carolinas schools that are Football Bowl Subdivison members: