Welcome to Aggie Land Mr.Boston

New Mexico State University President Michael Martin announced today that McKinley Boston is the new athletics director.<br>

McKinley Boston Jr., a former vice president and athletics director at the University of Minnesota, is expected to be named new athletics director at New Mexico State University today.

The official announcement is scheduled to be made at an 11 a.m. news conference at the Stan Fulton Athletics facility on the university's campus.

Though NMSU officials would not publicly confirm the hire Monday night, Boston was reached by telephone at a Las Cruces hotel and said he planned to attend today's news conference. He would not comment further on the matter, saying he would leave that up to NMSU President Michael Martin.

Martin, who worked with Boston at Minnesota, did not return telephone messages left with his office on Monday.

Asked by the Sun-News two weeks ago whether Boston would be hired as athletics director, Martin said he had heard Boston was interested in the job, but would not say whether he would be hired.

"I have the utmost respect for Mac (Boston) from my time working with him there," Martin said on Nov. 30.

Boston, currently president of a consulting firm, is probably best known for his resignation from UM in 1999 in the wake of the Clem Haskins/Minnesota Gopher basketball academic fraud scandal in which a university office manager and her sister admitted writing more than 400 papers for 18 basketball players over a five-year period.

Boston was not found to have had knowledge of the wrongdoing, but was said by some to have been guilty of creating or allowing an environment for the academic fraud to have occurred.

"I think if you ask anybody familiar with that situation," Martin said, "Mac took a bullet in that situation. He was never in any way involved in (the academic violations). He was an unfortunate collateral victim."

The University of Minnesota apparently has no lasting ill will for Boston. Last month, the university hired Boston and a consulting firm to help the university address diversity issues.

"(Boston) is a good choice for NMSU," Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi told the El Paso Times Monday. "I've known him for a long time. Before I hired him as a consultant, I did a thorough check on him. I was assured that the only crime that he may have been guilty of is not quite being on top of things as some people expected him to be. He was never implicated in any wrongdoing."

The NMSU athletics director job is open because of the October promotion of current athletics director Brian Faison to the position of vice president in charge of athletic advancement — essentially a fund-raising job for the athletics department. Martin has said he wants the new AD to be in place soon so Faison can begin full-time fund raising in his new position in January, but more importantly so the new AD can have a hand in selecting the new football coach.

Faison would not comment on the new AD Monday night.

Tony Samuel's contract was not renewed to coach the Aggie football team after this season, and a national search for that position is now under way.

NMSU enters the Western Athletic Conference next season, and Martin has said he hopes to at least double the budget of the athletics department to be more competitive in the new conference.

An article released Monday by the (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News announcing Kevin Anderson has been selected as athletics director at Army — the first black AD at any of the service academies — reported that there are eight black ADs among the 276 Division I colleges in the United States. That report excluded historically black universities.

In July, the first black AD was selected in the Southeastern Conference when Damon Evans was hired at Georgia.

NMSU's office of the general counsel responded Monday to a Sun-News request under the inspection of public records act to disclose a list of finalists for the athletics director position. NMSU provided only the names of Boston and one other man they considered finalists for the job. The other named finalist is an athletics director with another Division I university.

Last week, Martin said he had a list of four finalists and another list of potential finalists. He said at least one applicant had asked his name not be made public for fear of backlash from his current employers.

Boston received his undergraduate degree in education at the University of Minnesota in 1968 and his master of science degree from Montclair State College in 1973. He completed his doctor of education from New York University in 1988.

Most recently, Boston was President/CEO of MB&A Inc., a consulting and marketing firm.

Geoff Grammer can be reached at ggrammer@lcsun-news.com

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