A.D. Search: Updating The List

Pack Pride takes another look at potential candidates who could fill the vacant athletics director position at NC State.

Which direction will NC State go? No one knows that answer for certain outside of Chancellor Randy Woodson and the search firm (Parker Executive Search) he chose to assist him with the process.

However, here is a list of the potential candidates who could be interested in the NC State job or the Wolfpack might be interested in landing to fill the vacancy.

We believe there are no more than six candidates still under consideration, but listed below are nine possibilities that various sources have linked to the job.

With all that being said, things are moving very quickly and a decision could come in the near future.

Bobby Purcell has an outstanding reputation in the Wolfpack community.

CURRENT JOB: Executive Director, Wolfpack Club (NC State)

QUICK NOTES: He is in his 15th year as the Executive Director of the Wolfpack Club, and Purcell is considered to be one of the top fundraisers in the country. During his tenure as Executive Director, his responsibilities have included overseeing all facets of the Wolfpack Club. He assumed the additional duties of overseeing the Wolfpack Pride Campaign and Endowment Fund for student-athletes when Charlie Bryant retired in March of 1997.

Under Purcell's leadership, the Wolfpack Club has had record-breaking donation and membership results.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Few bleed Wolfpack Red like Bobby Purcell, and he has a strong backing as the hiring of a new AD draws near. Through his work with the Wolfpack Club and at NC State Purcell has developed strong friendships within the Wolfpack community, and many of those Wolfpackers are hoping he lands his "dream job."

Purcell also has outstanding people skills which should translate well to the media and those who he will be looking to secure deals with. He's friendly and approachable. In speaking with folks who have dealt with him, they say Purcell is very consistent. He consistently goes about his daily activities and has done so for several years. He doesn't have a volatile personality, and that's certainly a plus when dealing with a large number of employees and constant contract negotiations.

Because of his numerous ties and the success he's had in his current position it should come as no surprise that Purcell remains in contention.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: HIGH -- Purcell is believed to be on the short list of candidates.

Dave Hart has been a successful AD for a number of years.

CURRENT JOB: Executive Director of Athletics (Alabama)

QUICK NOTES: Hart has a wealth of experience under his belt, as he was East Carolina's AD for eight years before spending 12 at Florida State as athletic director.

While at Florida State Hart made the Seminoles relevant in all sports. Known primarily for its football success, FSU finished in the top 20 in the Director's Cup standings in Hart's last three years at the school (including two top-15 finishes).

With Hart at FSU the department's budget more than doubled, as did the revenues, greatly due to the increased support he provided for non-revenue sports.

Hart resigned late in 2007 after a disagreement with the University President. He was quickly hired by Alabama in 2008 as the Executive Director of Athletics, and in 2009 he became the department's chief operating officer in charge of the daily operations of the athletics department. Hart is essentially the No. 2 guy behind Alabama AD Mal Moore.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Hart being a potential candidate makes a lot of sense. He has been recommended for an AD position previously by Parker Executive Search (LSU), and he is also on the sitting faculty of the Division IA AD Institute, which mentors rising or potential ADs, with Dan Parker, head of Parker Executive Search.

He also has family living in Raleigh, and his nephew, Chris, is an assistant coach on the Wolfpack's baseball team.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: HIGH -- NC State would likely be thrilled to land Hart, assuming he would accept the job, but there is some talk that he is in line to replace Mal Moore at Alabama. However, one source told Pack Pride recently that the NC State job could be Hart's to lose... with that being said there has been speculation he has chosen to withdraw from the NC State search process.

Mike Thomas has had two successful stints as an athletic director.

CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics (Cincinnati)

QUICK NOTES: Thomas has had success at Cincinnati and Akron and is regarded as one of the best nationally.

Undoubtedly his top hire was securing Brian Kelly from Central Michigan just a year after taking over at Cincinnati. Kelly won two Big East titles in his years at the school.

Thomas has also expanded Cincinnati's brand through marketing. Beginning in the fall of 2008, all UC teams were outfitted exclusively in adidas footwear, uniforms, training apparel, and accessories as the department signed its first across-the-board shoe and apparel contract. The four-year contract aligns UC with other Adidas marketing partners such as the NFL, MLS, and an 11-year exclusive all-league partnership with the NBA. Later in 2008-09, Thomas reached an agreement with IMG College, a division of IMG Worldwide, for a new 12-year multimedia rights partnership.

Under Thomas' direction, Akron rose from last place to second among Mid-American Conference schools in the Director's Cup annual rankings. Simultaneously, Akron vaulted from last to second place in the MAC Academic Achievement Awards. Thomas increased the financial base of the Akron athletics program through increasing corporate sponsorship levels by 750 percent and boosted annual giving to athletics to its highest level in the school's history.

While at Akron the Zips won their first MAC football championship and the hiring of men's basketball coach Keith Dambrot has led to unparalleled success on the hardwood.

Thomas spent seven years as associate athletics director at the University of Virginia prior to his AD stints at Akron and Cincinnati.

Twice during his career, Thomas has received distinction for his efforts and dedication as a director of athletics, garnering the General Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletics Director Award in 2005 at Akron and then again in April of 2008 at Cincinnati.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Thomas has no "paper" ties to NC State and has not worked with Parker Executive Search in the past (in fact he's mainly dealt with Eastman & Beaudine), but he spent seven years at Virginia working with ECU AD Terry Holland and NC State head coach Tom O'Brien. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that both of them put in recommendations for Thomas.

Also, with the hiring of a new president at the school and the Big East being potentially on shaky ground, Thomas could be looking to make a move.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: MEDIUM -- Thomas is an intriguing candidate with a solid resume as he is a sitting athletic director with experience on the mid-major and BCS level.

Jim Miller has very few holes on his resume.


CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics (Richmond)

QUICK NOTES: Under Miller's watch Richmond has moved from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic 10 Conference and has had unprecedented success. During his time there has been facility upgrades in the all the major sports, including an on-campus football facility that opens this year, and improvements across the board.

Perhaps the most impressive moves made under Miller have been the coaching hires in the revenue sports: football and men's basketball. The first major hire he had to make was when John Beilein left the school to take over at West Virginia. Miller landed Jerry Wainwright from UNC-Wilmington who went 50-42 in three seasons and had two postseason appearances. Miller next hired Chris Mooney, the head coach at Air Force, when Wainwright was hired away by DePaul, and after two years of implementing his system Mooney has played in three straight postseason appearances. Richmond's wins increased from 16 in 2008 to 20 in 2009 to 26 this past season with the Spiders advancing into the NCAA Tournament. Richmond basketball has had seven postseason appearances in the 10 seasons Miller has served as AD.

His hires have been just as impressive in football. Looking to make a change in 2004 when Jim Reid resigned, Miller went out and hired Dave Clawson from Fordham University. Clawson's first season was rough as the Spiders finished 3-8, but he was 26-12 over his final three seasons at the school, which included an 11-3 mark and a FCS Semifinals appearance in 2007. Clawson left to take over as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, and Miller lured Mike London away from Virginia's defensive staff. All London did was go 24-5 in two seasons at the school, including the FCS Championship in 2008.

In Miller's first five years at Richmond, the Spiders earned 27 NCAA appearances and won 20 conference titles... as many titles as the school had won during the previous 20 years.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: A sitting athletic director with plenty of experience, Miller should be an obvious candidate. He has led Richmond to its highest level of success and has proven his ability to hire quality coaches.

Also, Miller has ties to NC State. He spent nine years as a member of NC State's athletic department before leaving for Richmond. He served a variety of roles in Raleigh, including eventually being named associate athletic director of athletics and chief operating officer.

We previously indicated that Miller's may have played a role in Les Robinson's departure at NC State, but after checking with various sources we do not believe that to be the case at all.

An Old Dominion graduate, Miller earned a law degree at the College of William & Mary. He practiced law before becoming president of a sports marketing firm, a position he held until leaving for NC State.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: HIGH -- Miller would probably be extremely interested in the NC State position, and he should be on the Wolfpack's short list of candidates.

Gary Stokan could be the way to go if you're looking "outside the box" like programs such as Michigan and Indiana have done.


CURRENT JOB: President, Chick-fil-A Bowl; CEO, College Football Hall of Fame

QUICK NOTES: Stokan has been extremely successful in his current role as President of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and previously as leader of the Atlanta Sports Council.

Not only has he made the Chick-fil-A Bowl one of the top college football postseason games their season-opening contests held in the Georgia Dome have been extremely successful.

Stokan has also help make Atlanta one of the top sports cities in the country. With Stokan as head of the Atlanta Sports Council the city has hosted a Super Bowl, a pair of Final Fours, along with All-Star games in the NBA, NHL, and MLB. Recently he was instrumental in the city securing the College Football Hall of Fame from South Bend, Indiana.

He also spent time working with Adidas and ran his own sports marketing firm before joining the Atlanta Sports Council.

Stokan is well-connected throughout college athletics, given his time with the Atlanta Sports Council and dating back to his career with Adidas.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: A former basketball player at NC State, Stokan remains passionate about Wolfpack athletics. He served as an assistant coach under Norm Sloan after playing for him in the mid-1970s.

Being an influential figure in Atlanta, you have to think he is familiar with Parker Executive Search, which is based in Atlanta.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: HIGH -- An alum and former athlete at NC State, most believe Stokan has a high level of interest in the position, but he has never publicly confirmed it.

Like Purcell, Stokan has been linked to the opening since Lee Fowler and NC State parted ways.

Buffalo AD Warde Manuel will be an AD on the high-major level at some point in his career.


CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics (Buffalo)
QUICK NOTES: Manuel is regarded as one of the top rising athletics directors in the business.

In his five years at Buffalo Manuel has had a high-level of success. The football program won a MAC title and played in the school's first bowl game. The men's hoops team won a share of the MAC reg. season title in 2008-2009, the first-ever MAC title, and advanced to postseason play for only the second time in school history.

Both softball and baseball set school records for wins under Manuel's watch, and the 2007-2008 tennis team won the school's first ever postseason MAC championship to become the first team to represent the school in Division I NCAA Tournament play.

Prior to taking over at Buffalo Ward was as an associate athletic director at the University of Michigan where he oversaw the football and men's basketball programs.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Sources we've spoken with have indicated that Dan Parker is extremely high on Manuel and would likely recommend him for the NC State position, assuming Manuel is interested.

Parker Executive Search assisted Manuel with the recent hiring of head football coach Jeff Quinn, and Manuel was reportedly one of the candidates in the mix for the Rutgers AD search that Parker Executive Search was hired to assist with.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: LOW -- There are no obvious connections between Manuel and the job outside of his previous dealings with Parker Executive Search. However, as one source has indicated, search firms tend to recommend "their guys" more often than not.

That same source stated he would be shocked if Manuel didn't at least receive an early interview for the NC State job given just how highly the search firm thinks of him.

Mike Bobinski has proven he can hire successful basketball coaches.

CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics/Assoc. V.P. (Xavier)

QUICK NOTES: Blessed with a diversified resume, Bobinski is an intriguing candidate.

He has served as an associate business manager at Notre Dame, his alma mater, and was previously an associate director of athletics at the United States Naval Academy. Prior to becoming Xavier's AD he held the same role at the University of Akron.

Bobinski was originally named Xavier's AD in 1998 and held the position until 2004 when he was named associate VP of development at the school. He returned to the role of director of athletics in 2006, and he also currently serves on the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee.

While Xavier doesn't have a football program, the school has one of the top basketball programs nationally and Bobinski's ability to hire coaches has played a role in Xavier maintaining its success. Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller, and now Chris Mack have all coached under Bobinski at Xavier.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: Like with Manuel, Parker Executive Search has reportedly recommended Bobinski for a position in the past, as he was a finalist for the Texas Christian position PES helped fill in October of 2009.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: LOW -- We haven't heard much associating Bobinski directly with the NC State vacancy. One source that we've spoken with who has dealt with Bobinski believes he could be looking for a new challenge, particularly at a school that has a football program (notice the interest in TCU).

Christopher has experience, there is potential connection with Chancellor Woodson, and is highly-regarded.

CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics (Bowling Green State Univ.)

QUICK NOTES: Christopher, Bowling Green's AD since 2006, is a West Lafayette, Indiana native and spent nearly a decade at Purdue. He served as Associate AD for External Relations and John Purdue Club Director. He was accountable for external and revenue-related areas for Purdue's $50 million department. In his role, he oversaw several areas, including development, marketing, promotions and advertising, athletic licensing and sports information.

He was selected over Whit Babcock for the Athletics Director position at Bowling Green, where he also serves as Assistant V.P. of Student Affairs. In just four years under Christopher Bowling Green has won a MAC division title in football while appearing in two bowl games, a MAC title in men's basketball, four-straight MAC titles in women's basketball (including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2007), and back-to-back MAC titles in baseball.

Christopher has hired Dave Clawson as head coach in football, who has been successful at Richmond and Fordham, and Louis Orr in hoops, who in his second season won a division title at BGSU.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: NC State chancellor Randy Woodson spent over 20 years at Purdue and as a big fan of college athletics he is likely very familiar with Greg Christopher.

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: LOW -- Christopher indicated to Pack Pride last week that he would not be interviewing for the job. However, we'll keep him on this short list for the time being.

Morgan Burke is likely a longshot given his ties to Purdue.

CURRENT JOB: Director of Athletics (Purdue)

QUICK NOTES: A Purdue alum, Burke has led the Boilermakers to unprecedented success in athletics.

With Burke at the helm Purdue has won a national title in women's basketball, played in 10 bowl games from 1997 to 2008, and the men's basketball team achieved an unprecedented string of back-to-back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships.

His resume is as strong as any potential candidate on NC State's wishlist.

CONNECTING THE DOTS: The connections are simple as Burke and chancellor Woodson worked together at Purdue. However, are those ties strong enough for Burke to leave Purdue?

SPECULATING MUTUAL INTEREST: LOW -- Most believe it is highly unlikely that Burke would leave his alma mater for NC State.

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