Search for new athletic director is currently a work in progress

Allegheny College’s search for a new athletic director is currently in the early stages of a multi-step process. Executive Vice President Eileen Petula said the process is still taking shape and few definitive details have emerged as a result.

“At this point, we’re not sure of the exact timing,” Petula said. “I will be communicating back to the community.”

The process will likely be similar to the process recently utilized by the college to find and hire April Thompson, new vice president of student life and dean of students, according to Petula.

“That was very successful,” Petula said. “It’s going to be very similar.”

Petula said replicating this process will involve a national search firm working in conjunction with an Allegheny search committee comprised of two students, two faculty, two staff, two administrators, Petula acting as chair and a representative from the Administrative Executive Committee. Petula is currently evaluating three national search firms.

“The committee hasn’t fully formed yet, but we’re close,” Petula said.

The committee will be seeking feedback from both the Office of Athletics and Recreation and from the larger campus community. The community will remain involved throughout the process, Petula said, and the finalists for such processes are typically brought to campus to interact with students, faculty and staff. Surveys will be sent out to those who attend these visits to provide feedback on the candidates.

As of right now, Petula said administration is interested in candidates who will focus on enrollment and outreach to alumni as well as maintain compliance with all NCAA and Title IX regulations. Petula also emphasized the importance of an open and accessible athletic director.

Interim Athletic Director Bill Ross said the new athletic director will lead a department that is currently devoting much of its attention to welcoming men’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey as well as updating facilities.

“That is our primary focus in making sure that we have everything in place for those two sports to start up here next fall,” Ross said. “So that’s construction of the new fields up at Robertson. We are resurfacing the blue courts, making those a little more functional and safe.”

Petula said the improvements being made to Allegheny athletic facilities highlight the importance of finding the best possible candidate.

“We’re investing a lot into our program,” Petula said.

Ross will serve as interim athletic director until the position is filled by the candidate identified by the search process. He said the position is one that comes with widespread responsibility for an important part of the Allegheny community.

“The director of athletics is obviously in charge of the overall operation of the athletic department, which is probably one the largest departments on campus that we have,” Ross said. “I would say the vision and the direction of the athletic department is kind of in the hands of the athletic director constantly being the captain of that ship.”