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UCD athletic director search reaches final four

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From page B1 | May 17, 2012 |

After seven months filled with community meetings and committee reviews, the job of the Recruitment Advisory Committee to find the next athletic director for UC Davis is nearly finished.

The committee was assembled by UCD Chancellor Linda Katehi in October 2011. Using a strategic athletic audit by outside source Cedric Dempsey, the committee hosted several town hall meetings in the spirit of transparency to help construct a guideline for the hiring of a replacement for Greg Warzecka, who retired in June 2011. Nona Richardson has been the school’s interim athletic director since then.

Using those guidelines, the committee and Katehi have now narrowed the candidate pool, which began at nearly 100 applicants, down to the final four: Foti Thomas Mellis, Ray M. Purpur, Desiree Reed-Francois and Terrance J. Tumey.

“We had a strong and robust pool,” said Vice Chancellor Fred Wood, who chaired the recruitment committee. “It was difficult to zero in on the final foul.

“We really followed closely what we heard from the people in forums.”

The key points in all town halls and the Academic Senate findings were that the next athletic director needed to have a strong commitment to academic integrity, broad-based sports and the ability to generate funds.

“It is nice (that it’s almost over), but I think (the process) was very important and very valuable in having made the transition to Division I,” Wood said. “I think it has been a little challenging at times, but it’s valuable for the community.

“It did take time, but I think it has created a greater sense of direction for the future. But not just for athletics, but so the athletic director can design their own path.”

The four finalists will have public interviews on campus beginning Wednesday. The following is a look at each candidate in the order they will appear at UCD:

Ray M. Purpur

Purpur is the deputy director of athletics, physical education and recreation at Stanford University. He graduated with a master’s degree in sports sciences from Pacific in 1994.

He became the deputy director for the Cardinal in 2006, where he oversees 35 varsity sports, 26 club sports, 21 intramural sports and 18 athletic and recreational venues.

Additionally, he has been the lead on capital fundraising for Stanford since 1994. Purpur is in charge of the entire $80-plus-million budget.

A highlight from his curriculum vitae notes that he “Implemented operational efficiencies to support/sustain athletic-staff growth from 125 to 250, as well as 300 percent+ expansion of budget, from $19M (1994) to $86M (2012). Reorganized Human Resources and Accounting & Finance Departments; balanced … budget all five years as CFO (2005-2010).”

In the area of integrity, Purpur has helped Stanford maintain its status as just one of four Division IA schools with no NCAA violations.

Purpur will be at an open forum from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Wednesday at Tercero South’s Wall Hall. The community is encouraged to attend.

Desiree Reed-Francois

Reed-Francois is the senior associate athletic director at the University of Tennessee. She earned her juris doctorate in 1997 at the University of Arizona College of Law and is a member of the bar.

As the senior associate AD, Reed-Francois oversees 500 student-athletes, 20 athletic programs, 350 staff in 10 athletic facilities with an annual budget of $100 million.

Additionally, she “collaborated with Office of General Counsel, AD and department staff to negotiate, draft and execute over 50 employment agreements and multi-media contracts valued at over $100 million.”

From 2007-08, she was the associate AD at the University of San Francisco. As the sole associate, Reed-Francois helped in day-to-day operations and helped lead the department to its first balanced financial aid budget in 12 years.

The open forum with Reed-Francois is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center, Ballroom B.

Terrance J. Tumey

Tumey is the athletic director for Dominican University of California. He earned a master’s in business administration, with a concentration in strategy and entrepreneurship, from Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA in 1993.

Tumey oversaw Dominican’s transition from NAIA to Division II, and is responsible for planning, management, budgeting and personnel for 12 intercollegiate athletic programs.

Additionally, he “led Dominican University through the Forest Meadows athletic field capital campaign. The $4.5 million multipurpose athletic venue, with regulation soccer field and tennis complex, is estimated for completion in April 2012. Eighty‐five percent of the funds were raised over the past 18 months of the campaign.”

From June 2004 to April 2009, Tumey was the director of football administration for the San Francisco 49ers, managing a budget of more than $35M. He also “coordinated the relocation of the club’s training camp operation, which contributed an estimated $125,000 in increased revenue, while decreasing operating cost by 25 percent.”

The public can attend Tumey’s open forum on Monday, June 4, from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. at the Activities and Recreation Center, Ballroom B.

Foti Thomas Mellis

Mellis is the senior associate athletic director for the University of California. He graduated with a master’s in education from UCD in 1996, after earning his bachelor’s in managerial economics at the school.

Mellis helped Cal through its NCAA probationary period and was promoted to senior associate AD in July of 2006. Some of his initial responsibilities were overseeing nine sports, development and fundraising and supervising the Student Services Program with a budget of $200,000.

In July 2011, Mellis was given the added responsibilities of supervising the Capital Projects Unit, including oversight for the $321 million Memorial Stadium renovation, caring for more sports teams (12 of the 29 at Cal) and continued development of fundraising for programs.

Additionally, he “helped to successfully reinstate the five eliminated sports with funding to cover expenses from seven to 10 years.”

Mellis will be at an open forum from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Tercero South’s Wall Hall.

To see candidates’ full résumés, correspondences between the chancellor and the hiring committee, along with the strategic audit, visit http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/initiatives/athletics_director.

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