Florida Gators begin search for new AD: What you need to know so far

By Adam Silverstein
June 22, 2016
Florida Gators begin search for new AD: What you need to know so far

Image Credit: GatorVision

The Florida Gators on Wednesday provided some details on the program’s search for a new athletic director in the wake of Jeremy Foley‘s retirement announcement after 40 years on the job and 25 years in his role as the top dog at the University Athletic Association.

As previously announced, former board of trustees chairman Manny Fernandez, who led the school’s search that resulted in hiring president Bernie Machen in 2004, is leading what is now an eight-member search committee tasked with finding Foley’s replacement.

The committee — outlined below — does not consist of any other standout names, though Florida’s release on its search does include two interesting nuggets of information.

Executive associate athletics director Lynda Tealer, who OnlyGators.com listed as one of six primary candidates for Foley’s job, will serve as a liaison between the UAA and the search committee, effectively taking her out of the running for the job. This does not come as much of a surprise considering Tealer’s relative inexperience within the program compared to Florida’s other two executive associate ADs.

Furthermore, candidates for AD will not simply have to get through the eight-person board. Once finalists are identified, these AD candidates will go through a ringer including interviews with current Gators head coaches and UAA staff members.

That certainly gives a leg-up to some of Florida’s in-house candidates like executive associate ADs Mike Hill and Chip Howard, assuming they’re well-liked within the athletic department and chosen as finalists by the committee.

READ: Six candidates to replace Florida AD Jeremy Foley

“Our next athletics director will assume leadership of a strong organization with a tradition of excellence,” president Kent Fuchs said in the release. “It is important that we identify a slate of qualified candidates who can build on the UAA’s previous successes. I am confident the search committee, under the capable leadership of Manny Fernandez, will help us identify the very best.”

Sticking by its general policy of making hires through an in-house committee and not an executive search firm, Florida continues to go against the grain nationally. There are different levels to which search firms can be employed, but the Gators remain confident that their process of identifying the right candidates and ultimately making a hire simply works best. To UF’s credit, that’s been the case under Foley.

These are the members of the AD search committee, as described by the UAA.

Manny Fernandez, from Ft. Myers. Fernandez leads a venture capital fund, SI Ventures, and was an inaugural trustee and chaired the search committee that recommended the hiring of UF President Bernie Machen in 2003. Fernandez also serves on the board of three Fortune 500 companies.

Cammy Abernathy, from Gainesville. Abernathy is the UF Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Prior to being named to that position in 2009, Abernathy was associate dean for academic affairs and a professor in the department of material science and engineering at UF. She also serves on the University Title IX committee.

Ron Coleman, from Jacksonville. Coleman is the immediate past President of Gator Boosters, Inc. and was the first African-American student-athlete offered a scholarship at the University of Florida in June of 1968. He is currently President and CEO of Baronco Management Consultants, Inc., a human resource management and training firm. Among his past and present UF affiliations include the following – UAA Board of Directors, F-Club Committee (and Past President) and UF Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Andy Fawbush, from Jacksonville. Fawbush is the current President of the University Athletic Association Board. Fawbush is an attorney at the law firm of Smith, Gambrell and Russell. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Florida Levin College of Law and for the University of Florida Alumni Association.

Virginia Maurer, from Gainesville. Maurer is a Professor of Business Law and Legal Studies, Darden Restaurants Professor of Diversity Management and founding director of the Poe Center for Business Ethics. She has been on the faculty of the university for 36 years. She served five terms on the Board of Directors of the University Athletic Association, Inc., including several years as chair of the finance committee and vice president of the board.

W. Andrew McCollough, from Gainesville. McCollough is Associate Provost for Teaching and Technology at the University of Florida and current chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. He has served as part of the UF Faculty since 1971 and served in the Army as an aviator.

Tom Mitchell, from Gainesville. Mitchell is Vice President for Advancement. He joined the University of Florida Foundation in June of 2010 after an eight-year career at the University of California, Irvine, where he was the Vice Chancellor of University Advancement and President of the Foundation.

Michael Sagas, from Gainesville. Sagas is Department Chair and Professor for the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management and has been the Faculty Athletics Representative to the SEC and the NCAA for the past five years. He also serves on the University Athletic Association Board and the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee.

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