"I think it's an attractive position for anybody from the outside looking in – or from the inside looking out for that matter," senior associate athletic director David Horning said.
Randy Woodson, in his first few months as chancellor, has the difficult task of finding an athletic director who can guide all the capital investment made over the last decade into results on the field. In working towards that goal Woodson has assembled a 13-person search committee and hired an outside firm, Parker Executive Search, to help with the process.
"Leading an athletic department is a very complex organization," Woodson said. "You have a very large budget, you have to deal with coaches, you have to deal with marketing agreements and you have to negotiate a lot of contracts with employees."
Juggling a multi-million dollar budget and a large staff of employees are just some of the challenges facing an athletic director. The head of the athletic department at NC State will also be expected to navigate the tangled web of NCAA compliance so that athletes can stay on the field and the Wolfpack can avoid any potential sanctions.
"You have to manage legal compliance issues with the NCAA," Woodson said. "The level of responsibility, the commitment to a winning program – the commitment to helping student athletes be successful in the class room."
Of course, what matters most to the fans is that the athletic director steers his programs towards more success on the field. Woodson has made it clear that because of all the complexities of the job, he values previous experience in the position.
"I'm going to look first at leadership skills, their ability to take an organization and bring a winning attitude toward it," Woodson said. "To hire, retain and in some cases fire the people that you need in an organization to move it forward - and in an environment where you have to be compliant with very complicated rules that govern the NCAA."
Smedes York, the chair of the search committee and former Raleigh mayor, echoed the chancellor's sentiments.
"You're looking for experience, leadership – someone that is familiar with athletics and someone that is familiar with business," York said.
But Woodson admit that experience isn't the only criteria, pointing to leadership and the ability to run an organization. The chancellor noted that several schools have hired successful athletic directors from backgrounds that contained no previous experience In an athletic department.
"There have been a few cases where athletic directors have come into programs from non-traditional backgrounds," Woodson said. "But if they have no experience of what it takes to lead a college-based athletic program then it's an awfully difficult hill to climb."
Bobby Purcell, who has been the Executive Director of the Wolfpack club for over a decade, is one of those hoping to climb that hill. While he has no experience leading an athletic department, Purcell has overseen several large fundraising campaigns – a skill that Woodson admits is important in an athletic director.
"Part of it is fundraising," Woodson said. "But also part of it is marketing – negotiating your marketing agreements."
In 2003, Fowler extended the Pack's current marketing agreement with Capitol Broadcasting for an additional 10 years. While the contract won't expire till the end of 2013, the Pack's new athletic director will have to evaluate whether to move in a new direction or maintain its long-standing partnership with Capitol.
"It's a unique skill set. If we don't look broadly across the entire country we have the potential to miss a great opportunity to bring in really strong talent to NC State," Woodson said.