Mesa releases names of five AD finalists

Colorado Mesa University narrowed its list of athletic director candidates to five men with experience at the NCAA Division I and II levels.

Three of the five are associate athletic directors at the Division I level. The other two are athletic directors at Division II institutions.

“I think the search committee did a good job,” CMU President Tim Foster said. “It’s a talented group. There is a variety of guys with experience in Division I and Division II. I guess you’d say some seasoned veterans and up-and-coming.”

The new AD will replace Butch Miller, who resigned in November for health reasons. Miller was athletic director for a little more than four years.

The finalists are:

■ Andrew Carter, Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s athletic director.

■ Dennis Francois, Drake (Iowa) University’s associate athletic director.

■ Rick Goeb, Bemidji State (Minn.) University’s athletic director.

■ Doug Mosley, the University of Cincinnati’s senior associate athletic director.

■ George Nelson, Air Force Academy’s associate athletic director.

Andrew Carter

Carter is in his second year at Northwestern Oklahoma State, which is in its first year as an NCAA Division II institution in the Great American Conference. He was the athletic director at Armstrong Atlantic State (Ga.) University for two years prior to NOSU and was the athletic director at Newberry (S.C.) College for seven years.

“When we interviewed him he nailed it,” CMU Chief Financial Officer and search committee chairman Pat Doyle said. “He had excellent answers. He’s very excited about the opportunity here. We did reference checks and said, ‘Let’s meet him.’ “

Dennis Francois

Francois has been on the athletic staff at Drake, a Division I university, since November 2008. Prior to that, he was the athletic director at NAIA Southern Oregon University for three years. He was an interim athletic director at New Mexico Highlands for a little more than one year.

“I think that helps,” Doyle said of his time at RMAC rival Highlands. “With his phone interview, he showed no hesitation. He told us why he was interested in us. He believes in students first, athletes second. You can tell he understands the responsibility and the opportunity.”

Rick Goeb

Goeb has been the athletic director at Division II Bemidji State since 2001. He will be released from his contract at the end of the academic year, according to a story in the Bemidji Pioneer.

In the article, Bemidji State President Richard Hanson said the move follows a comprehensive institutional review of the athletic department and a need to increase funding on several fronts. Hanson became president in July 2010.

In Goeb’s 12 years, he hired more than a dozen positions in the athletic department for its 17 varsity sports, including Division I men’s and women’s hockey.

“We talked as a committee a lot about that,” Doyle said. “Sometimes a new president comes in and wants to bring in a new person. It’s not unlike a head football coach who wants to bring in assistants.

“We felt he delivered. He did a lot with fundraising for an ice center.”

Goeb was the senior associate athletic director at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks before going to Bemidji State.

Doug Mosley

Mosley is in his third year at the University of Cincinnati. He is responsible for external affairs and media communications. He served as the primary media contact for men’s basketball and assisted in various marketing initiatives and strategic planning.

Mosley was the senior associate athletic director at the University of Louisiana-Monroe for five years prior to Cincinnati.

George Nelson

Nelson has been at the Air Force Academy since 2003 and has been the associate athletic director of athletic programs since 2007. He had no athletic administration experience prior to the academy.

“It was the diversity of experience,” Doyle said. “The Academy has, I think, 29, maybe more, sports. He’s got great organizational skills and time-management skills. We thought the pluses outweighed everything.”

The interview process

The five finalists are scheduled to be on campus the week of Feb. 25 for interviews.

“We’ll interview one a day for five days,” Foster said. “A variety of groups, from the math club to students and coaches, will get an open session with them. I’ll interview them, and our senior athletic staff will interview them.”

Foster plans to make a decision on the hire by the end of that week. A starting date for the new athletic director remains to be determined, but it probably won’t be any later than July 1, the start date of yearly contracts at CMU.

“It depends on each one and their circumstances,” Foster said. “I don’t know if any of them are available right away. I’m sure it depends on where they are and what the institution’s response is.”

The search committee and Foster selected the five finalists from 16 phone interviews conducted the past two weeks.

“All five separated themselves,” Doyle said.

There were 48 applicants.

Whoever is hired will be the 13th athletic director in the history of the institution. Doug Schakel served two separate stints.

The CMU director of athletics is responsible to the university president for the overall administration and management of the intercollegiate athletics program, according to the CMU job posting.

The athletic director supervises the head coaches, associate athletic directors, assistant athletic directors, head athletic trainer, sports information director and administrative assistants.

Other duties includes representing the intercollegiate athletics program, spearheading fundraising efforts and supervising marketing and promotion activities, among other duties.

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