University names AD search committee

The Kent State athletic department finalized the search committee for the next athletic director yesterday.

The 17-member committee is tasked with finding candidates to succeed current Director of Athletics Laing Kennedy.

The group represents “a variety of interests and populations, both on and off campus,” said Judy Devine, who is one of the members and a former administrator in the athletic department.

“I think it also shows the impact that athletics has across the university and across the community,” she continued. “It’s kind of fun to see that we’ll get to work with a group that at least has some affiliation with all the publics that athletics affect.”

On the committee are student-athletes, prominent community members and Kent State faculty and administrators. Robert “Yank” Heisler, dean of the College of Business Administration, will chair the committee.

The Committee

• Robert “Yank” Heisler, dean, College of Business Administration, chair
• Judy Devine, National Athletic Development Council
• Curtis Eaton Jr., Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; Track and Field
• Ronald Fowler, special assistant to the president and consultant to the University
• George Jenkins, trustee emeritus; National Athletic Development Council
• Jen Kulics, Associate director of athletics for Academic Services
• Daniel Mahony, dean, College of Education, Health and Human Services
• Mel Mellis, National Athletic Development Council; Kent State Foundation Board of Directors
• Molly Merryman, associate professor, Justice Studies
• Catharine Marosszeky, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; Soccer
• Herb Page, Director of Golf and Head Coach, Men’s Golf
• Charlene Reed, Secretary to the Board of Trustees; Chief of Staff to the President
• David Ruller, City Manager, City of Kent
• Scott Sherwood, president, Undergraduate Student Government
• Charles Sinclair, senior vice president, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
• Willis Walker, vice president of Human Resources; Chief University Counsel
• Kathryn Wilson, professor, Economics, and NCAA Faculty Representative

The committee will eventually recommend a short list of potential candidates to President Lester Lefton, who will make the final decision.

“He knew this was going to be a community, if not a broader than community, interest assignment, and I had worked with him,” Heisler said about his being selected to lead the committee. “I think he felt like I was somebody who could move it down the path the right way.”

Members of the committee hope to contribute by offering multiple perspectives. For Catharine Marosszeky and Curtis Eaton Jr., the student-athlete representatives, they hope to find an athletic director who has the interests of the students in mind.

“Somebody that can pick up where Mr. Kennedy left off,” said Eaton, a senior on the track and field team. “He did a great job as the athletic director here at Kent. It’s going to be tough for anybody here to fill his shoes. Somebody who’s going to look out for the athletes’ best interests and just make our athletics program better at Kent.”

Devine, a former associate athletic director and colleague of Kennedy, said she is looking for someone who will manage the department as well as the current director did.

“We need, No. 1, a good business manager,” she said. “Laing has been so successful because he’s been able to do so much with restricted revenue sources. And that’s because of his management skills.

“The second thing about why (Kennedy)’s been so successful is that he’s a great personnel manager. We’ve got a great staff, and it’s a well-managed staff.”

Kennedy, who has helmed the athletic department for 16 years, will retire June 30, 2010. The shifting of athletic directors will be no small change, Devine said.

“It’s not just the little athletic department being affected by this change,” she said. “It’s the university and surrounding community and region as well.”

Contact assistant sports editor Josh Johnston at [email protected].