The search is underway

CLEMSON - James Barker counts the search for Terry Don Phillips' replacement among the most important decisions he'll make as university president.

"I would think a vice president -- especially a provost -- and an athletic director are particularly important personnel decisions," Barker said.

Phillips, who was hired by Barker 10 years ago, announced on Thursday that he will retire from the Director of Athletics position once his current contract expires.

A national search for his replacement will be conducted by a three-person committee. Chaired by Barker, the committee includes Board of Trustees president David Wilkins, Faculty Athletics Representative Janie Hodge and Vice President for Advancement Neill Cameron. The group has already begun its search for Phillips' replacement.

"Fortunately, I've done this once," Barker said. "Neill Cameron was a part of that first search, and he will be a part of this one. We've had some experience, but I think it's a whole new environment.

"The whole cast of characters have changed in that 10 years. It's a new responsibility and new opportunity for us."

Chief among the changes in to the environment is the demand for instant answers.

"Communications," Barker said, "The speed at which decisions seem like they need to be made, and having the wisdom to know whether you need to operate at that pace or to slow it down a little bit, and be more thoughtful. That certainly has changed.

"The responsibility that is there, the dollars involved. Consider the new contracts that are there for the ACC and from other sources. We're dealing with really large sums of money now.

"The work that I'm doing on rules for the NCAA, that's going to put more responsibility back on the universities that has never been there before. The university is going to decide much of what is right and wrong. If they don't get it right, the punishment is going to be much heavier than it ever has been before, too."

Several qualities will be considered as the committee searches for the university's newest athletic director. Primary among those sought after skills will be fundraising.

"A good fundraiser is aggressive, really skilled with people [and] enjoys interacting with people, finding what's important to them and shaping what's important to them in what our needs are, and putting those two things together," Barker said. "That's what I've learned, especially in the last five years of this capital campaign."

Phillips will continue to serve as athletic director until a replacement is hired.


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