football Edit

Purdue A.D. search working toward eventual end game

Board of Trustees chairman Mike Berghoff has led the university's search committee for its next athletic director. (Tom Campbell)

More ($): Potential candidates for Purdue A.D. job

As football season nears, so does the long-awaited end to Purdue's extensive search for its next athletic director.

It was Feb. 11 that long-time A.D. Morgan Burke formalized plans to depart no later than the end of his contract in 2017 and Purdue formed a committee to seek his successor. That was almost six months ago.

It's hoped, though, that a hire will be made "sooner rather than later," Mike Berghoff said.

Berghoff, the chairman of Purdue's Board of Trustees, is serving as chair of the A.D. search committee.

"We're letting the quality of the candidate dictate the hiring date," Berghoff said. "If we find a person we're really interested in and we think can make a huge contribution to our department, we'd hire that person tomorrow. If we're not convinced of that, we'll keep looking. It helps that we have someone, in Morgan, still in place. But we're eager to get the search finished and an offer made.

"We want everyone to know that. I know it's been very quiet, which probably concerns some people, but it has to be quiet. These folks we're talking to have careers of their own and we're not eager to put any of those at risk."

Berghoff estimated that upwards of 60 prospective candidates were brought to the committee for consideration. Dozens have been engaged directly with in one way or another, whether they've been sitting athletic directors or otherwise.

Last week's search committee meeting was the first of its three, Berghoff said, dedicated to "subjecting the nominee pool to a short-listing process."

Berghoff said the job has not been offered to any candidate yet.

"We have a couple additional sorts to go through before we get to the point where offers are made," he said. "We're getting there."

Ultimately, Berghoff and the search committee will be asked to bring up to three candidates to university president Mitch Daniels for him to make the final call on.

As of this point in the process, the search committee and search firm DHR International remain "heavily involved," per Berghoff.

In refining the search, Berghoff said there are no "knockout punch" criteria in terms of experience level, résumé, age, areas of particular expertise or any such singular factor. But there are broad guidelines in place.

"I'd tell you it has to be someone that can develop and articulate a vision of what's expected from the athletic department staff, coaches and teams and an individual that can empower our coaches and staff to win while at the same time maintaining academic integrity," Berghoff said. "It has to be someone who can demonstrate they've been able to recruit, hire and retain high-performing talent, both in the coaching and department levels. And it has to be someone who can promote our program both internally and externally in a way that enhances the image of the university. Then it has to be someone who can demonstrate fund-raising skills that will allow us to (drive) funds needed to support the vision."

Burke has been Purdue's athletic director for nearly a quarter century. This isn't a process Purdue has been through in the modern era. But it's one its leadership says it's determined to get right.

"We have high expectations for this program," Berghoff said. "Mitch, the committee and I are fully committed to making sure our choice here is going to be able to make a really significant contribution to our department and our ability to win, to win in a way everybody can be proud of, but nevertheless, win."

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