Image Credit: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel
There will be a changing of the guard in Gainesville, Florida — in more ways than one.
A Florida Gators spokesman on Thursday confirmed that athletic director Jeremy Foley, who is retiring in October after 25 years on the job and 40 years at the university, will not be replaced with a current member of the University Athletic Association staff.
“We’ve gotten a number of questions asking about internal interest in the job. Each of the internal people have made a decision not to pursue the athletic director position for their own individual reasons,” explained senior associate AD Steve McClain, who runs football communications, in a statement to OnlyGators.com.
Among those believed to be candidates for Foley’s soon-to-be vacant position included a trio of executive associate ADs in Mike Hill (external), Chip Howard (internal) and Lynda Tealer (administration). As previously announced by Florida, Tealer will run the administration portion of the search committee convened to identify and hire Foley’s replacement.
Hill and Howard in particular were considered strong options for the job considering their extensive time working under Foley and familiarity with the Gators’ athletic department. It was once believed that former executive senior associate AD Greg McGarity was the AD-in-waiting, but McGarity left Florida for his alma mater Georgia in 2010. It is unlikely that he would return to UF, though he is only under contract with UGA until December 2017.
So where do the Gators go from here?
Expect Florida to evaluate some of the top athletic directors in the nation as it looks to fill one of the best jobs in the country.
OnlyGators.com listed six primary candidates (now three) for the position following Foley’s announced retirement along with three other names to know during the Gators’ search.